The Ghana Film Industry as great as it is were built up by many unsung personalities in the industry who do not appear on the screens hence obscure. One of these personalities is the late Kwame Robert Amissah Johnson famously called Bob J in the Film Industry.
Kwame Robert Amissah Johnson (Bob J) was born on the 25th of February 1961 in Accra-Ghana to Robert Kofi Johnson and Josephine Larteley Johnson.
For his primary education, Bob J attended Christ The King International School and Osu Home School until 1973, then continued to the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School(PRESEC). His passion for photography took him to Tema Technical School to study photography where he graduated with honors. Bob J’s first of many photo exhibitions was held at the GEOTHE INSTITUTE in 1986.
Bob J then enrolled in the National Film and Television Institue (NAFTI) Accra, for a 3-year diploma program and graduated as a Cinematographer in 1986 with distinction (the first cinematographer to graduate with distinction) and an award for “Best Cinematographer” for the final year film “Blemish”. Bob J’s professionalism led him to be part of the Uk’s Jobfit program teaching others his skill. His numerous projects included working with some celebrities from the UK, USA, and Ghana.
Among a few were Malcolm Warner (Cosby Show), Kirk Franklin (BET Gospel), Kwaw Ansah, and Hugh Masakela. He worked as a cameraman on the hit film “The Collector”. His own film, the award-winning “Back Home Again” was premiered at Portobello Road Cinema, London before coming to cinema screens in Ghana in 1994. The film “Back Home Again” was shot on 35mm celluloid and featured in 12 film festivals around the world.
Bob J’s hobby was riding motorbikes on-road, off-road and on tracks in Europe. He met his untimely death on the morning of 12th December 20120 when his bike glided off a pool of oil spilled from a truck by a careless motorist. The unique Leader of the Pack as he was famously referred to by his fellow bikers was gone. A big blow to all his friends, a blow to his Squash Fraternity, a blow to his whole family and the nation as a whole.
GAFTA in 2011 instituted an award in his honor at NAFTI. The Bob J Silhouette award for the best cinematography student.
On 11th December 2020, GAFTA celebrated his legacy with a lecture dubbed: “The impact of image creation in liberating the minds of our people”. It was segmented into three parts. John Passah spoke to the topic, the effect of technology in cinematography. Yao Ladzekpo spoke on using cinematography to influence the viewers. Lawer Akunor spoke on, Mentoring the cinematographer.
The event began with motorbikers clubs reps riding in and did a 1-minute silence. Dr. Jim Awindor (president of GAFTA) followed with a welcome address. The Bikers led by Walter eulogized Bob J with a poem for him 5years ago. He then enumerated projects that Bob J initiated that they’ve completed in his absence. The event ended with a presentation of two framed pictures of Bob J on location from GAFTA to the family. The family was represented by Koffi Zokko Nartey.