Last year I contacted a friend of mine from Uni, Toni McLennon, to see whether or not she would be willing to do a test shoot with me. I felt she had a unique look, and I could see myself working with her on a shoot. We took some time to plan a few outfits and the look and vibe we were aiming for, and then set a date. The original date came and went while I kept planning more and more things for the shoot, until I realised one simple thing; I was over-thinking it. I got into my own head and turned it inside out, when the best thing to do was to keep it simple; and that’s exactly what I did. I contacted makeup artist Dominique Mitchell (also known as LadybugMUA) who does excellent work, as well as photographers and colleagues Jik-Reuben Pringle to assist as my lighting technician, and Kid Bazzle to work as my digital technician for the day.
We had a wonderful day of shooting, and everything went more or less as planned. It was also my first proper attempt at shooting tethered, which was quite the experience. My only gripe is that Lightroom isn’t quite as quick as I would like with importing the images. All in all, we got some great photos, and I’m glad we could all come together to get it done!
While scouting the School of Music on the campus of the Edna Manley College of The Visual and Performing Arts, I came across a stranger. He was seated in front of the grand piano, on the stage in the Vera Moody Concert Hall. Beside him on a stool were tools, screws, bolts, nuts and other bits and ends. The piano lid raised, his hands moved across the hammers, tweaking, tuning, deftly working within the 9-foot Steinway grand piano with 12,000 moving parts.
Something about it caught my eye, and I asked him if I could take some photos of him while he worked; he obliged. I sized him up, and carefully took a few shots. He was happy to see them afterward, and he introduced himself to me; Johnny O’Brien, a piano tuner. I noted that he had an accent, but I didn’t have the time to have a conversation with him. I said goodbye and made my way to the exit.
It wasn’t until much later that I realised he was far more than; he was a renowned piano tuner, restorer and a skilled jazz pianist from New Orleans. He first came to Jamaica in 1981 with his grandfather (who was Jamaican born) and fell in love with the island; after living here for over a decade, he has travelled here frequently for work. Hopefully we’ll cross paths again, because I would absolutely love to shoot some portraits of this very interesting man.
On Saturday, the 11th of May, I got an unexpected assignment that would lead me to the birthplace of reggae music; Trench Town.
I was sent to cover Trench Town Rock, an annual concert put on by the family of Bob Marley to celebrate not just him, but the music that he and other pioneers helped to birth, in the same place where he grew up. The evening started with performers within the community, giving a platform to various artistes and musicians.
Further into the evening, the main show started and the crowd grew. The night was filled with powerful performances from current and sure-to-be future legends of the industry, from Capleton, Junior Reid and Bounty Killer, to Assassin, Christopher Martin and Kabaka Pyramid. The night was capped off with electrifying songs from Stephen, Julian, and Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley, with Stephen bringing Popcaan onstage for a guest verse. It was a successful night of shooting and I’ve put my favourite images from the night below. For higher resolution versions, just click here. Enjoy!
In my 2016 Retrospective blog post, I mentioned working on a Tommy Hilfiger campaign. A few folks have asked about it, so I thought it was time to lay it all out!
In February of 2016, I got an email from Tessie Pessers of Influencer Marketing Agency (IMA), the leading digital influencer marketing agency based in the Netherlands. After searching the internet for Jamaican-based photographers, she came across my Instagram page. She was seeking a photography assistant and digital operator for a fashion photography production in Montego Bay. I later learned it was a Tommy Hilfiger campaign called Hilfiger Island, showcasing their new eyewear collection. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to work with a crew from Europe, as in this day and age networking is more important than ever.
After agreeing on cost and conversing with the IMA team via email, I made the journey to Montego Bay to meet them in person. We were split into two crews, and I ended up working with filmmaker Marlon Gervacio, and photographer Dennis Swiatkowski, two immensely talented creatives. I also worked primarily with online influencers, models and bloggers Linda Tol and Leonie Hanne, as well as Michelle Salas and Miguel Carrizo.
The two days spent with this team were pretty invigorating, as we worked with models from across Europe, shared conversations about our respective cultures and customs, and generally had an amazing time. Between takes and during times when I could grab my camera, I took as many behind-the-scenes images as I could to document the production, and below you’ll find some of my favourites. To see the finished product, your can head to Hilfiger Island to see the culmination of beautiful images and footage, shot at Silent Waters in the hills of Montego Bay and the Half Moon Shopping Village.
Jodi and Jordan may look familiar to those of you familiar with my site; they’re two members of the rock band The Sky Is Broken, who I shoot from time to time!
Their wedding was held on a gorgeous afternoon at the Alhambra Inn; a beautiful place nestled away in Kingston with a very rustic vibe. It was a small, intimate ceremony with family and close friends, but what made the wedding truly beautiful was the way everyone came together to pull everything together, the decor being handmade by family adding a very personal touch to the entire day. From the minute Jodi walked down the aisle with her mother to meet Jordan, you could see the anticipation and excitement in her eyes, the emotion as they held hands and walked to the priest.
The ceremony was short, beautiful and emotional for everyone involved, and I’m honoured to have been chosen to document their nuptials. Below you’ll find some of the highlights from the day, from getting ready to the first dance. Check them out below!