This project is aimed at highlighting Jamaican natives and their culture through the use of portraiture photography. I will be specifically looking at the Olympic Gardens, a small town in Jamaica where my family and I originated. Olympic Gardens is a western suburb of Kingston, located between the Blue Mountains and Caribbean Sea near the seaport. The participants in this project, many of whom are friends and family members, were mostly photographed on Tower Avenue, a main road in the Olympic Gardens. This gave me a substantial group of people to photograph. I noticed that a drinking culture has developed in the Olympic Gardens, which is not how I remember the community being when I was younger. There now seems to be several bars scattered around the area. I took photos of many of these places, such as the popular ‘Angela’s Bar’.
There are also vast amounts of street vendors in Jamaica, which resulted from the lack of job opportunities in the country. This does, however, contribute to a more solid community, promoting togetherness. The people of Olympic Gardens believe in taking care of their elderly and are against placing old family members in care homes. They believe it’s the family’s duty to care for and look after the older members of the community. When I am in Jamaica, I tend to have a lot more social contact than normal. Perhaps because the people feel more welcoming and familiar to me. I would get several visits from friends and family members who have heard I arrived from the UK.
I visited Jamaica on the 24th December 2019 to complete this project. Although this was during the winter season in the UK, in Jamaica there are only two seasons which are the wet and dry season. December to April is considered to be the dry season, and is the ideal time to carry out my photo shoots, as the sunshine is prominent and the atmosphere has a positive impact on the photographs. When carrying out my photo-shoot, I made it a priority to capture my subjects in an object free background so that they would be the main focus. This would assist me in highlighting the unique features of the subjects and the clothing they wore, allowing the viewers to easily identify the cultural differences.