Interview for “Fragments 2017 Collection”

Why is the collection called Fragments?

I struggled for a while to find the right name, but then the more I thought about all of the work, styles, and processes involved in producing this collection – the title “Fragments” just made sense:

  • The entire Caribbean is made up of Fragments of land stretching from North America to South America.
  • My DNA is made up of Fragments of different ancestries -English, French Creole, Spanish, Native American. Actually, I would say that the majority population of Trinidadians are the result of fragments of many different ethnic cultures coming together.
  • The things I photograph are inspired by Fragments of all my fond memories, experiences and the Caribbean influences of my upbringing here in Trinidad.
  • Using the iPhone instead of a medium format or DSL camera to create this collection is a choice I made because of all the Fragments of all my education in Art and Photography and experiences and experimentation using all formats and mediums.
  • The very techniques I use to make my art images is a result of fragments of different processes that I use to layer and transform the image. The images are created from broken lines, pops of color smudges, exaggerated pixels,  and fragments of the original image deconstructed then reconstructed and transformed into a new point of view.

My life experiences, my French Creole-English-Spanish-Caribbean ancestry, my upbringing the multi-faceted multicultural island of Trinidad, my new life here in South Florida, my chosen profession as a photographer, the techniques I choose to use, my love of new technology contrasted with my love of natural materials and textures, my respect and admiration for flawed beauty and imperfections, mixed with my strong island roots and love for Caribbean charm – all these diverse different experiences coming together have influenced my work and are the inspiration for this new Contemporary Tropical body of work appropriately called “FRAGMENTS”.

Why did you choose to use an iPhone instead of more traditional cameras?

I have 3 answers:

My first answer would be – Why not? 

I’m not trying to create the kinds of images that you are expecting – I do that every day in my commercial studio every day that would bring nothing new to the table.

The iPhone is probably one of the most used cameras on the planet right now. I’ve used the other kinds of cameras for the last 30+ years in my studio they are the accepted tools of my trade. The camera I choose does not define my work it is simply the vehicle I choose for this particular journey. Painters use all sorts of tools to apply paint to the canvas – as I can use the lenses and settings of the camera to apply light and pixels to the digital image. At the end of the day pens, pencil, brushes, paints, clay, wire, fabric, paper, cameras, they are all just tools – they are nothing without the vision and imagination of the creative thinkers and artists who use them. In the right hands, any camera can be used to create beautiful images. So WHY NOT use a camera that everyone else uses to create images that are different and unexpected?

My second answer is – “Freedom”.

I like to break the rules. In all my art I never do what is expected or predictable – there’s enough of that out there already. In my commercial photography I am expected to be in control of everything that goes in front of the lens at all times, but with my personal work I’m not really interested in capturing “reality or precision” – I do enough of that with the product photography produced in our studio. In my iPhone photography – I decontextualize and then focus on the areas I want to bring attention to. I’m more interested in self-expression and experimentation. I find shooting with my iPhone is really liberating – not having to worry about cumbersome equipment, lenses, filters, etc allows me to spend more time and focusing on what I want to say in my images. With the iPhone, every tool I need is right in the palm of my hand, all there for me to utilize and express my vision in any way I choose. And with all my years of training and experience in photography – I have found ways to manipulate the functions to create what I see not what the camera thinks I should see – that FREEDOM is empowering.

My third answer is – “Possibilities”.

Technology can be a dirty word in art: the misplaced suggestion is that it offers the artist a shortcut. It implies that even more harmful concept of uniformity, lack of uniqueness. But I would argue that the cameras and software are just tools like the brushes and paint. It is how we use or manipulate them that creates the style and vision. I know all the proper rules in Photography, my husband and I have made a living as Commercial Photographers where our photography has to be exact and precise and fit all the parameters of the assignment. It is for that very reason that I like to divert from the expected “rules” with my personal Photography. When you step beyond the “predictable”  – experiment and go beyond the “familiar” the possibilities are endless.

Why weathered and recycled wood as backgrounds and not traditional frames?

The collection is not just a celebration of the beautiful things found in the Caribbean but an appreciation for the imperfections too. Not everything needs to be new and perfect, nature does not need to be manicured and places in order. There is a real beauty to be found in the imperfections, the cracks, the weathering and aging of things, the way nature reclaims its territory. There is a rustic charm that cannot be ignored here in the Caribbean. Some people see poverty and dilapidation, but I don’t see that – I see tenacity, strength, and survival –  a Caribbean charm and island style that cannot be denied. A style born out of uniqueness, diversity, and ingenuity.

That’s why for this collection, I made backgrounds out of fragments of reclaimed, weathered, and recycled tropical woods. Those materials represent that tenacity and ingenuity because they too have weathered many storms. The rustic backgrounds contrast to my modern metal prints and through their colors and textures they end up complimenting each other in unexpected ways.

My goal is always to encourage and inspire those who see my work to look more carefully at the world around them, to discover beauty in unusual places.”