The Good Life series (2009-2011)
The Caribbean is one of the most tourism-reliant regions in the world. It could be argued that this brings economic growth to the region. However, if examined more closely, the power dynamics within tourism can be traced back to the Caribbean's colonial history. Contemporary vacation photos can be also be traced back to the beginnings of photography (taken by the elite) at the time of European imperialism. Picturesque, typical and authentic are all loaded terms used in early photography - still heard today - which can be understood as systems of classification. Both The Good Life Series and Vacation Pics play with the vacation photograph to examine the notion of the picturesque in the Caribbean.
The Good Life Series manipulates “typical” photographs of Barbadian scenery by overlaying them with frost-covered windows thus pointing to the complex relationship between two geographies and cultures. Depending on the viewer’s perspective, it may portray the Northern phenomena of traveling south in the winter to get away. Although maybe innocent on the part of individuals, this longing and idealization of tropical countries is often done with little concrete understanding of the reality of daily life for the people there or of the underlying power structures in place. The beauty of the frost becomes an allegory for the privilege and opportunity of developed countries.
From the Caribbean perspective, or in fact from the perspective of many countries of the global south, the insidious nature of frost suggests the cultural Westernization that is occurring there. The frost permeating across the surface also points to the increasing quantity of foreign-owned property and businesses in underdeveloped countries, which drives up the cost of living and real estate for locals further increasing the economic gap between rich and poor. With this economic gap comes necessity, which can be noted in the history of emigration from the Caribbean. It is said that there are more Caribbean people living outside the Caribbean than within. This brings with it the trauma of displacement through the generations and a counter-idealization of home within the diaspora.