Fri | Aug 14, 2020

Life on the Real Rock

Published:Sunday | July 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM
David Muir, photographer, with his book, 'Pieces of Jamaica'.-Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Muir exposes candid beauty of Ja

From the broom seller to the handcart man to the peanut vendor - everyday life in Jamaica is truly art.

Therefore, when one sets out to document pieces of the island, the task is monumental.

Photographer David Muir took on this challenge and has compiled pictures Pieces of Jamaica, a travelling exhibition of Jamaican experience and culture.

"It is about the people and capturing the Jamaican life and not so much the destinations," Muir tells Outlook.

A Jamaican by birth, the photographer migrated to New York. Like many Jamaicans in the diaspora, nostalgia and homesickness grabbed a hold of him. And so Muir started his album documenting everyday life in Jamaica.

Admittedly, while doing it, the thought of coming out with a book crossed his mind and seemed far-fetched.

"I started taking pictures back in 2008, and each year, I would say I averaged six to eight trips back to Jamaica. When advised as to what it would take to have a book, I had set a goal with a specific target number of pictures that would have much significance and impact," he explains.

His Jamaican journeys while filming were spontaneous and took him into many nooks and crannies.

"Sometimes, I would go with a group of photographers on a photo walk to different places in Jamaica. Their focus was sometimes different than mine because for someone like me living abroad, I wanted to capture the true Jamaican life, like even someone selling juice, which I don't really see often."

Available for sale in August, Pieces of Jamaica, according to Muir, would be a wonderful keepsake for the Jamaican diaspora and locals alike.

"Not only would it be a nice book to have for members of the diaspora, but Jamaicans living home could appreciate it too because oftentimes they miss out on a lot of things around them," he notes.

Covering every parish, each picture is assigned a name which is reflective of what is captured and documents where it was taken. Some are also detailed with captions.

"All parishes are covered, maybe not equally though. And no picture is posed, it is just candid everyday life," adds Muir who is excited about the prospects of his new book, especially as it coincides with Jamaica's 50th anniversary.

"Having met my target, I knew I wanted to get it out this year and to get it done before a major art show I have in South Beach Miami later this year. An arduous task to get everything together, it took us (team) four months to get the book together. And it is by chance that it is happening around the time of the 50th celebrations."

The collection, which has garnered acclaim and excitement from a wide cross section of art aficionados and general art lovers, has been exhibited throughout Florida. Culturally powerful, the collection has also been featured in print publications such as the National Weekly News, Caribbean Today, Miramar Today, Miami Gardens Observer and the Caribbean American Passport News Magazine.

Through a local distributor, the book will be in stores islandwide and will also be available on