How did you get into photography?
Honestly, it’s just always been something I’ve wanted to do. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think cameras were cool. My earliest memory of asking for a camera is when I was in primary school. Also, I used to watch Americas Top Model religiously and my interest was never in the models, but always the shoot and the final photo selection.
Tell us a bit about the projects you’ve done so far on the island?
Apart from my own personal projects for my own collection, I’ve done a few Christmas parties, two weddings, portraits, and some promo/marketing work, for both small and big businesses. Yesterday before we met I actually just finished up my first official paid shoot with a business here, that was fun. Some of my favourite projects that are apart of my personal collection are the county game pictures.
You said in an interview with the Royal Gazette that Bermuda isn’t about pink sand to you and I agree. How important is it to show what you classify as Bermuda, and what Bermuda means to you?
Extremely important, especially with today’s climate. I feel that some of the issues we have are a direct connection to what’s been put forward to the masses. The power of imagery is huge and people don’t realise the subconscious effects they have on the community. Let’s look at the housing crisis for example. There is a large number of people looking for affordable housing, yet there are 571 Airbnb listings for vacation rentals in Bermuda right now and that number is climbing. I sell tile for a living and the amount of people I serve who are renovating for vacation rentals is shocking. If you’re able to rent your home out for a summer and make enough money to get you through the slow season then what’s the difference between setting a reasonable price for rent, and where does that leave the middle class Bermudian looking for housing? Something doesn’t add up there. This is why I stay away from your typical “Bermuda” pictures. We’re definitely experiencing an identity crisis right now and as stated earlier, I feel that this is a direct impact of what we have been told defines us and our culture. The fact that Gombeys need a permit to dance should raise an eyebrow or two.
Is there anything that frustrates you about working as a photographer here in Bermuda?
The lack of resources and inflated prices for basic equipment.
Who are some of your inspirations, and people that you look up too here, photographers or others?
My biggest inspirations here actually aren’t local photographer believe it or not. I owe a lot of this recent success to Tiffany Paynter and Nicole Golden. Nicole is the owner of Urban Cottage. Besides the fact that she is the only POC who owns a business on Front Street, through her own experiences and success, she’s taught me so much about business here. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of quality of service and product. Her attention to detail when it comes to branding and vendors she chooses makes UC stand out from the rest, the woman is a marketing genius. She’s also big on supporting local entrepreneurs and creatives. She sells a small selection of Bermudian made products, including Queendom Heights, in Urban Cottage and makes an effort to employ all Bermudian staff. She understands the importance of the Bermudian dollar and supporting your own, something I feel retailers have lost sight of over the years. On the flip side, Nic doesn’t sugar coat anything-you ask for her opinion you’re going to get it, and what I’ve learned is that sometimes with business you have to be able to take your feelings out of the equation in order to see the bigger picture. Apart from her, my Aunt Tiff is probably my biggest inspiration, and biggest fan. We’re only 6 years apart so growing up she was more like a big sister than an aunt. Being the only creative in my household, I obviously stuck to her like glue. My aunt Tiff is a multi talented artist who’s introduced me to drawing, painting, poetry, different styles of music, anything to do with the arts she shared with me. She definitely realised my artistic abilities early and helped hone them. I definitely owe my creative abilities and eye to her. In addition to her artistic abilities, she’s extremely intelligent and never had an issue standing out and being true to who she is.
What two pieces of advice do you for upcoming Bermudian photographers?
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, if it’s uncomfortable you’re probably on the right track.
Find your niche and perfect it.
How do you feel the show you recently did at Masterworks was received?
The feedback I’ve gotten has been amazing, I cant really put it into works but I will say that it’s important for establishments like Masterworks to provide these types of opportunities amongst the local creative community. My brain has been working overtime regarding my next moves so I’m definitely grateful for them, its pushed me in the right direction for sure.
On that note, what do you have planned for the future?
It’s a secret but I’m working on a few things I’m hoping to launch for the summer so I’m excited about that!