Port Maria to Strawberry Fields

This blog post will have images that are quite different from what you’re used to seeing on my site. As I mentioned in my blog post 2016: A Retrospective, I work in the Photography Department at the Edna Manley School of Visual and Performing Arts. During March we had a departmental field trip, during which myself, Photojournalism lecturer Andrew Smith (AKA the man who taught me photography) and the main lecturer for the department Lewis Gibson-Grainger, escorted students from 1st year to 3rd year on a trip along the coast of St. Mary.

With our day starting at 5:00 am, we left the college’s campus in Kingston and travelled to Port Maria, our first stop for the day. While the students worked on various things, from photojournalism to environmental portraiture, I decided to work on my landscapes. It’s not a genre I dabble in very often, but given the right circumstances can be incredibly enjoyable. It took me out of my comfort zone, but I was able to capture some wonderful images during our time (mostly at Pagee Beach) and I’m very happy with what I ended the day with. 

Lynne & Nathan-John: Hope Gardens Wedding

In January I had the pleasure of shooting the wedding of Lynne and Nathan-John Webb. It was held on a sunny morning on one of the beautiful lawns at Hope Botanical Gardens in St. Andrew. 

While I hadn’t known them for very long (Nathan-John for about a year and a half, Lynne for a few months) their openness and friendliness made working with them a great experience, and from the moment I learned how they met, I knew the wedding would be a great one. Lynne (who’s from the United Kingdom) and Nathan-John (who’s from Jamaica) had their paths cross while in… Canada! While I definitely won’t get into the details here, it all began from that first meeting.

From the emotion felt during the ceremony, to the stories and dancing at the reception (they’re a fun-loving bunch!) the entire day was an absolute blast. It’s definitely a wedding that you’d want to experience again; luckily the day can be re-lived through the photos below!

Test Shoot with Toni

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! 

The Piano Tuner

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 Assignment: Trench Town Rock

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!

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