SHARP FOCUS: “Photography is evolving, and today there are so many different avenues for expression,” says Warren (inset).
“THERE are places in Jamaica people don’t know about and they are beautiful to photograph,” says Paulette Warren, who has been president of the Jamaica Photography Society since March 2017. She’s been working the lens since 2013, though she’s been an avid picture-taker all her life. “It excites me, taking a weekend trip to places like Reggae Falls in St. Thomas and Turtle Bay for the first time.” You can see some of the highlights for yourself. Warren and Society founder Donnette Zacca have teamed up with 30 other photographers and the JCDC to put on “Celebrating Photography,” an exhibition showcasing over 100 new works, now open to the public, at the Jamaica Conference Centre.
TALLAWAH: Congrats on a splendid show. 33 artists, 101 pieces on view. How did it all come together?
Paulette Warren: It took months of planning, but we had a strategy. What we really wanted to do was have a fine arts exhibition, showcasing work by member of the society, as well as by invited guests and some of the living legends in the field. It came together well. We are satisfied with it.
TALLAWAH: All of the pieces are on sale. Photographers need the extra money!
PW: Absolutely. You have to have a passion to do it full-time, as a profession. Some of our members do wedding photography and they earn from that. Some of us participate in regular art and craft fairs. So there are various ways that our members make money. Some of us have other jobs, so not all of us do photography full-time.
TALLAWAH: Is photography a dying art in Jamaica?
PW: Definitely not. Not at all. As our guest speaker said earlier everybody has a photographic eye; everybody has a smartphone. Everybody is taking pictures, whether professionally or for personal use. Photography is evolving, and today there are so many different avenues for expression. So it is certainly evolving, not dying.
TALLAWAH: How has the Jamaica Photography Society been growing its membership?
PW: We now have about 45 paid-up members and we have others who attend our meetings. Our Facebook family has also been growing, and we have members who are currently based in other countries like Switzerland. Anyone who is interested in photography and attend our meetings can become a member.
TALLAWAH: What’s the ultimate goal of the society?
PW: We would like for Jamaica to have a photography society that can compete internationally against other photography societies. We would like for more Jamaicans to learn how to take great photographs. So we’ve been putting on workshops and classes.
>> “Celebrating Photography” is on view at the Jamaica Conference Centre from November 25 to February 1.