Charlene Collins

Charlene Collins has a keen eye for natural, existing compositions and prefers the ambient lighting. Ms. Collins often finds herself in just the right place for her signature photography.

They say artistry begins with composition. What was in your mind's eye as you composed 'Bench' for example?

CC: I was actually leaving Hollywell, a park way up in the hills when I saw the bench. Because of the steep incline of the driveway, I was able to notice the composition.

What appealed to me was the starkness, singleness of the bench looking over the hills towards the parish of St. Andrew and the sea.

PD: That appeal made this one of our early features on Photo Dialogue, from February 17th.

And 'Morant Point Lighthouse'? Tell us about that one. The shapes and colours seem to blend just right here.

CC: This was a brilliant day with great lighting conditions and skies. It was a Flickr outing and most people were up in the lighthouse, but I'm scared of high places and rusty stairs so I stayed as close to the ground as possible! While there, I saw the natural framing and a different perspective of this heritage site. I do like old buildings, especially those made of stone or the limestone ruins in this case.

PD: Next on my list is 'Oranges', a subject not normally so inspiring but one that you've transformed into somewhat of a conversation piece.

CC: Nature and naturalness are very interesting to me, so I look for naturally occurring compositions. I prefer them to staged arrangements. These oranges were in a wooden hand-cart parked in front of some high-rise buildings in the business district. It was early morning, the light was how I like it and the vendor agreed to the photo. I used my ever-present G9 for this one, and I'm really happy with the way the yellows 'popped' and the lines of peel showed up just so.

The activity behind this was also quite eye catching...all those glamorous office workers stopping by this wooden cart for a bag of cane and peeled orange!

Now that's a social contrast scenario we'd love to see in its own feature here on Photo Dialogue.

"Lucea is a little town on the way to Negril from Montego Bay in Jamaica. It's a place I've never stopped in all the years of driving between those two big ones. This day, as I was staying nearby, I decided to stop and look.
Sometimes I feel like I see so much more since I've taken up photography. For me its also a way of recording and reporting. Real estate in this area has become very valuable and it is incongruous to see a weather-beaten building on this land - and you know it won't be for long."

PD: And now to a portrait called 'Loni'. There's a small debate as to whether this is an "uncalculated" portrait.

Charlene: I like candid photos because I feel that once the subject becomes aware, they get into the 'cheese' mentality - you know, the big old fake smile.
Loni is a makeup artist & television host. She was tired after a full day of work being in front of the cameras. She really didn't pose for this - I called to her "Loni, look at me" and she just switched from the look of "I just want to go home" to a smile.
I liked the light and her position on that ledge near the ground. I only use natural lighting (for now) and this was about 4 o'clock in the evening.

PD: I selected this because of the flow of the key lines. The seams in her jeans, that red bag, her arms wrapped. They all seem to flow in a way that makes it arful. Her confident beauty caps it. What's next for you?

CC: I need to cross the boundary from liking candids and waiting for the elements to line up and move to a phase where I stage, direct, light, pose and control all my elements

PD: And we look forward to the outcome.
Thank you for a wonderfully candid and expressive interview.      >>>