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Image: Robert and Christopher Publishers

The book Pictures From Paradise: A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography was launched earlier this year.  It is the first of its kind in the Contemporary Art Series by Robert and Christopher Publishers which is based in Trinidad and Tobago.  The idea for the book was developed after the Shot in Kingston: The Digital Scene exhibition which was at Alice Yard in 2010 and which was curated by Christopher Cozier.

The irony of the title is that the photographs in the book are the complete opposite of what one would expect to see in a book of Caribbean photography.  There are no picturesque depictions of landscapes, sandy beaches or jovial natives.  Instead co-editors Melanie Archer and Mariel Brown have beautifully captured the works of 18 photographers representing different parts of the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda and Barbados, with Bermudian James Cooper's beautiful underwater photography chosen for the cover.  Other notable artists whose works are featured include Ebony G. Patterson, Abigail Hadeed, Rodell Warner and Alex Smailes.

The editors have divided the book into three categories: The Tableau Vivant, The Documentary and The Portrait.  They believe that the works of the photographers are an honest and clear adaptation of themselves and the world they live in as opposed to a stilted, clich├ęd view.  It is also felt that the publication has unified the Anglophone Caribbean and is the perfect tool to showcase the works that photographers are producing across the region as they respond, in the words of O’Neil Lawrence, one of the featured photographers, "in new ways to the representational history and realities of the Caribbean".

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