Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Art is the expression of imagination and creative skill, which seek to inspire and awe on the basis of beauty and the force of emotional power. Art is subjective by nature; born of personal taste, opinions, and feelings. It's an expression vulnerability and courage; putting yourself out there in the world, regardless of the coming reactions.
This photoshoot was based on nothing but artistic expression. We took two beautiful, women of color from contrasting shades, and donned them in nothing but pieces of reflective tape. The pieces, in a he of gold, were strategically placed along their body in mosaic-like tiled patterns to create the shape of a "swimsuit."
The idea came from The Black Tape Project, a type of shoot created in 2008 by photographer Joel Alvarez. His art style is featured in night clubs and cat walks around the world. Alvarez showcased his work at the Miami Swim Week 2018. His thirteen-piece limited-edition collection straddled the fence between boldly stylish and straight out sexy models and I wanted to try my hand at it in the Virgin Islands.
When I saw one of his models, a dark-skinned woman in the golden tape, I thought to myself "I have to try this." Well, I actually typed it out. I posted the thought on Facebook and few online friends jumped at it. I wasted no time and bought two rolls of the tape. Kevin Faktor came along to shoot video, Deidra Matthew and Jahnisha Alexis were our models. Merle Wynter was the makeup artist, and Xaia Todmann, who was also suppose to be a model, supervised and brought treats. George Armstrong, another local photographer and Vanessa Ayala, a local model, were also on the team, but were unable to make the shoot.
We started at 9 a.m. in the rainforest and didn't finish taping until about two or three hours later. First of all, Kevin woke up at the wrong time because he thought the shoot was in the afternoon, not the morning. Who was shooting in the rainforest when the sun is already out? He was trying to kill us. We won't get into the details of how Creque Damn is gorgeous but dangers because it's slippery and stressful when it's full. For me anyways. Everyone else seemed to not give a damn about the damn. Also, tiny roads are not conducive to shooting. Passersby are also super nosy. Like, can we shoot in peace without yall stopping traffic to look?.
It was also more complicated that I thought, especially since I was trying to work like Alvarez and cut, and tape on the spot. Regardless, it was fun and I can't wait to do it again on a larger scale. I'd rather not hijack Alvarez's idea though, so I'm looking at how to make it mine somehow.
But until then! Check out the photos below! Also, check out the video about this shoot here!