Unearthing a “quaint” Jamaica with photographer Jeano Edwards in his new project EverWonderful
The Jamaica-born photographer tells us how his stunning new series EverWonderful deviates from classic representations of Jamaicans.
- Joey Levenson
- 21 October 2021
Flicking through Jeano Edwards’ new project EverWonderful is a feast for the eyes. Throughout the series, the Brooklyn and London-based photographer’s composition remains decidedly delicate, allowing for a quotidian beauty of his home country – Jamaica – to take precedence. “Coming from a background where I had no exposure to the arts growing up, I started purely on intuition and following what felt right,” Jeano tells It’s Nice That. “As time went on, I became more exposed and involved with the arts and art history.” This guiding intuition is evident in EverWonderful, where every shot feels natural (whether staged or not) and quietly artistic. “The first photographer I felt inspired me was Henri Cartier-Bresson,” Jeano adds. “His philosophy of ‘the decisive moment’ was the first thing I came across that encapsulated everything I was doing, and it still informs how I work today.”
Whilst there is a distinct style in EverWonderful, Jeano strays from adhering to any particular style in his broader work. “It’s not something I tend to put a lot of thought into,” he confesses. “I think for me it’s more so how I want a particular image or group of images to feel and I let that lead the creative process.” Jeano believes perfecting a style isn’t inherently “good nor bad,” but he keeps a distance from it nonetheless. Typically, Jeano lets himself sit with ideas for a few months, allowing others to come and go in the meantime. “I like to see what ideas are reoccurring or that resonate the strongest over that time,” he says. “From there it slowly grows into a practice or period exercise which then slowly takes on a life of its own and becomes an output in the end.” It’s a method of working which lends itself well to long-form projects such as EverWonderful, and Jeano’s new project in the pipeline, but he’s also a photographer capable of experimenting. “I’ll still do a shoot just for fun that I can turn around in a day or two,” he notes.
EverWonderful is a project that sat with Jeano for some time. “It came from a desire to capture a version of Jamaica that was quaint, mundane but beautiful,” he tells us. “I didn't want it to feel overly flamboyant or vibrant – though flamboyant is one characteristic that is almost impossible to escape in Jamaicans.” With 12 years spent living outside the island, Jeano now sees himself “both as an insider and an outsider” in his home. “There are lots of ‘external’ elements that have since shaped how I see the world,” he explains. “But obviously, there is a core that is very much Jamaica.” Going back to Jamaica for recent visits is what prompted Jeano to look at the island with a different set of eyes. “I am rediscovering different aspects of that core with fresh eyes, while understanding myself within the culture as I am now and as it is.”
Now, Jeano is working on trying to execute a short film that he hopes to release by late 2022. With such a keen eye for beauty in everyday movements, we bank that the film will impress us too. “I also have a project in mind for my next special photo project,” Jeano adds. “So I’m just looking forward to taking my time with it and hopefully push my practice forward in ways I can’t see now.”
GalleryJeano Edwards: EverWonderful (Copyright © Jeano Edwards, 2021)
Jeano Edwards: EverWonderful (Copyright © Jeano Edwards, 2021)