Creating art with zinc and lens
Marina Burnel uses photography to try to bridge the gap between culture and classes. Born and raised in Normandy, France, three years ago she relocated to Jamaica when her then husband got a job on the island. She was excited to travel since she had never travelled much further than Ireland where her three children were born.
Burnel had been a photographer for about 10 years, but coming to Jamaica gave her a new creative outlook. She found herself being drawn to street photography. Her lens became a shortcut to meeting people, but more important, photography became a pathway to understanding and sharing people's experiences with the world. She had always been an empathetic person, drawn to all kinds of people. Street photography compels her to slow down and actually take in the world around her.
"Experiencing street photography and environmental portraits in Jamaica opened up a new world, where colours start to find a place in my images," she told Outlook.
She was specifically captivated by Trench Town. "I like the vibrancy of its people," she said simply.
Burnel has also always been captivated by the environment. Growing up, she loved spending most of her time outdoors. Spending her weekends and holidays with her grandparents, she has fond memories playing in the fields and building tree houses although she admitted that she left most of the work to her more building-savvy friends. Her childhood was filled with love.
She has one sister who is five years older than her who kept her in line. Her sister always got in trouble and she would learn from her mishaps.
Burnel believes that through her photographs, she has a message to convey. This time it is in presenting her craft in an unorthodox way printing art on zinc. Burnel says it's a way to unite and bridge the gap between social classes by bringing a piece of downtown into uptown. Her work is printed on scraps of zinc she gets all over the corporate area.
Burnel hopes to showcase some of these works at her exhibition at the French Embassy in April of this year. She will also be doing a collaboration with Mara Made Designs. The combination of wood and photography is one that both look forward to with two artists from Trench Town showing off their pieces.
Her advice to other photographers? "Shoot what inspires you. Like all other arts, there is a fine line between shooting a look that sells or a look that truly inspires you. Keep creating images you are proud of and you will always find like-minded eyes that find your images appealing. Stay true to yourself."