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Ten years ago when I started photographing Jamaica, I wanted to connect with the locals. However, I was naive in my approach with capturing their images. Jamaicans are not easily accepting of Americans, especially with a camera lens. Perhaps those most cautious to speak to Americans are the Rastafarians. To be invited into their space does not get offered to just anyone. They were the hardest connection to make as they’ve known photographers to exploit their lifestyle and images without any payment. I always make a point of finding the subjects of my photos and bringing them back a gift of the photograph because that just might the only one they will ever have of themselves.
Spending time with Jamaican people is a gift. They find humor and appreciation with each day. Although times are changing and progressing for the people of Jamaica, it still feels like going back in time compared to our surroundings. Everything is done manually each day, it’s daily hard labor for little or zero money. However, Jamaicans look forward to each morning with renewed purpose and with hope for the future.
I’m grateful to the people of Jamaica for inviting me into their world. There have been many memorable moments in my trips, but never more than when a stranger has become a friend. Every winter I go back to this island, there are always more places to explore and another beautiful soul to photograph.
These are Notes From Jamaica.
All proceeds from this exhibition & online purchases will be donated to NORML.