Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trinidad and Tobago through the lens of a War-Correspondent

One of the challenges of picture books is the familiarity one has with the images. How can the photographer take us away from the familiar and show us something new? That is one of the major challenges of such a book. People unfamiliar with Trinidad and Tobago would enjoy a reflection of the countries, but for those of us who know the place, it is a bit harder to see the body of work in this book as special or different. That said, it is still wonderful to see a year in the two island state represented here, and occasionally one can come across an interesting eye, as the people of the SWWTU Hall would attest. I think that one of the challenges of this book is the odd use of themes throughout. By categorising the work into sections, the last section seems like a catch-all and that throws you a bit. Also the layout does not always enhance the photography as the section on flora and fauna shows. Images are placed in such a way that the work has an almost clinical study quality that can be seen in any botanical or biology book. See his exhibition of SWWTU, Back In Times

Where Mr. Smailes' skills peak through are in works such as the hands of toil. But again this book could have been better served by a clear decision being made as to what each work in every section was trying to convey,and thus known, sizes, shapes and placements adjusted to suit. The dust jacket prepares you for something very dynamic and exciting inside and then the choices let you down. However the book does succeed in doing what it is made to do, and that is, please the tourist. - Adele


How is Trinidad and Tobago interpreted through the eyes of an outsider? What reflects our true essence? A glossy coffee table photographic book is here to answer these questions. The British photographer, Alex Smailes has canvassed across the country to document landmarks, cultural observances and facets of our culture which we take for granted and a portfolio of the photographer's work is represented in Land, People, Carnival, Aquatic and Wildlife.

The photographer Alex Smailes at CCA7, Trinidad

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