The Designer Island Instagram Profile Series features the work of Caribbean photographers who use Instagram thoughtfully as a means to display their work, show their lives and travels or to make a statement about the Caribbean as they see it. We’re kicking it off today with a profile of Marlon James, a Kingston-born photographer whose work we’ve been admiring for some time now, not just his commercial and fashion shoots but also his thought-provoking curation of Caribbean urban landscapes via Instagram.We asked Marlon if he would share some of his Instagram photos taken while he’s been residing and working in Trinidad and Tobago and tell us what attracts him to the subjects he shoots while he explores this new space.
DI: Your Instagram profile is rich with texture, signs and architecture, very different from your actual photography portfolio. From the old signs and posters, to the graffiti, to the old buildings and the new, we’re completely intrigued by your eye and how you view Trinidad. What attracts you to these subjects?
MJ: I’m attracted to various textures, signs and architecture, because I’m a lonely wanderer in Trinidad. I basically have no friends or family in Trinidad. So I walk the streets to understand the lay of the land and to find some form of connection. I take photos as a reminder of where I’ve been and sometimes it’s just the peculiar and interesting things I see at particular times of the day or night.
DI: Do you enjoy walking or is it just a way to get from place to place? How does that impact how you view your surroundings?
MJ: Walking is a means of me getting from point A to B to C and back to A. I walk as a form of independence and exercise, but mainly for independence. Walking is actually a great way for me to see Trinidad, because when I drive or I’m being driven I miss the opportunity to stop and investigate anything that catches my eye.
DI: Would you say you get inspiration from your walks for your photo shoots or are your photos on Instagram more of a hobby?
MJ: I’m generally inspired by any and everything around me. Sometimes I do get inspired to do a fashion shoot in a particular location I have come across in my journey around Trinidad.
DI: Why have you chosen Instagram as a medium to share your work?
MJ: I have chosen Instagram as one medium to share some of my work. Mainly I use Instagram as a platform to show some of the random moments that happen in my life.
DI: What would you say makes Trinidad and Tobago different from or similar to any other Caribbean islands you’ve photographed/visited? Describe the space as you’ve experienced it in 3 words.
MJ: One thing that makes Trinidad and Tobago stand out to the other Caribbean islands I’ve visited is the infrastructure. I find it quite fascinating, what seems to me to be a random placement of business places and homes, old versus new buildings and the contemporary style versus the traditional style of building designs.
Three words to describe Trinidad and Tobago: ‘Individually integrated environment’.
Check out Marlon’s portfolio and website here.
Contributing Editor: Ayanna Gillian Lloyd
Ayanna Gillian Lloyd is a writer and creative strategist
based in Trinidad & Tobago.
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