14.1 PLANNING THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE GREATER & LESSER ANTILLES

This article is a brief overview of the planning to photograph projects in the Greater & Lesser Antilles for the publication of Contemporary Caribbean Architecture. I am planning to travel to Jamaica in May this year. If you know of any projects or architects that might have suitable projects please let me know as soon as you can [time is running out].

I am planning to photograph up to ten projects over a two-week period. So by the time this gets published I am hoping to have most of the projects selected but there will still be a couple of spaces available.

The process of planning involves contacting architects, asking them to send me thumbnail images of suitable projects and then making a selection of the best prospects. The next step involves getting the architect’s agreement with the terms and have them arrange for the necessary permission from the owners to photograph and publish.

In parallel with obtaining permissions are all the logistical arrangements for travel, including identifying an assistant to help with transporting the photographic equipment. It’s really like trying to organize a military operation by herding cats. The formative stages are really quite challenging to one’s intent and the only approach is to continue pressing forward, despite all the incidental obstacles that arise.

I am discovering that, unlike the Windward and Leeward Islands, it’s actually quite difficult to move around the Greater Antilles. From what I can tell one is forced to fly on multiple airlines via either Panama or Miami. The thought of having to lug camera equipment on flights through customs and immigration is daunting. I am going have to pack my camera and lighting equipment very carefully to meet carry-on weight, size and travel restrictions. With carryon weight limits of 22 pounds and the Roadie bag weighing 10.5 pounds that leaves on 11.5 pounds of camera equipment per person. As a result my Hasselblad kit will have to be split between two bags as it exceeds the weight limit.

Still if I am expressing some anxiety about some of the challenges I also need to keep focused on the objective as I really do look forward to meeting the architects and photographing their work and that is what really keeps me going. I do really believe that a published work of Contemporary Caribbean Architecture is worth the trouble.

greater antilles