Almost exactly 4 years after our last true photo adventure on foreign soil, It was time for Cassie and I to branch out and fill our creative wells with new experiences, scenery and perspective on life. After several years working away in Athens, it was just in time. Wanderlust had set in, and despite a lot of diverse experiences over that time, there has been one thing truly missing. Travel. So in an effort to beef up our travel photography and fine art print work, we decided Jamaica was the perfect place to experience a truly unique culture–one defined by natural beauty, vibrant music and a laid back attitude you will find no place else.
Just to set the mood, here’a great live performance from one of the most talented, soulful musicians to ever walk this earth – Peter Tosh.
Being our first trip to the island, I’ll admit the only real impression I have gotten of Jamaica over the years, has been that it's a beautiful and exotic – yet dangerous place. The only reason I bring it up – is so I can contrast this notion with our actual experiences interacting with the sweet, outgoing Jamaican people. Sure the country has had some serious issues, but an overwhelming majority of crime is limited to small pockets in the big cities.
After researching a bit, we were able to locate a few areas where you wouldn’t need to sacrifice scenery and fun for safety. After all, we would be carrying as much camera equipment as we could squeeze into two overstuffed carry on bags. We decided on Treasure Beach in Saint Elizabeth Parrish after reading a slew of great reviews on the area, made our reservations at Jake’s Hotel and it was all set.
Upon touching down in Montego Bay, making it through customs and weaving our way through a barrage of way-too-willing tour guides and ganja salesmen, we met our driver, Andre – who would carry us right through the heart of the island, all the way to our destination on the South coast.
It should be noted we have no images to document this drive, for one very important reason: the instant we set foot off the plane, Cassie informs me her week long cold has developed into Bronchitis. This turned what would have, under normal circumstances been one of the most fun and exciting days of our life, into something resembling a nightmare. After making one of a few nausea/freakout moment stops on the road, the locals looked quite intrigued by this lovely, green-colored american girl looking at or near death.
Finally knowing we were nearing Treasure Beach, the excitement took over and we were riding high on the idea of simply having somewhere to sit down, have a drink – and relax.
Here is our first view of Treasure beach, a small fisherman’s village in one of the more rural areas of Jamaica’s South coast. They have really invested in the people of their small beach town, bringing to life the idea of community tourism, where the locals are invested in to carry the weight of their hospitality industry and share in its successes. No high rise resorts, no outside corporate interests, just the “Real Jamaica”, as it was described so many times in the reviews I previously read about the area.
A big part of the success that Treasure Beach has experienced, is due to the people behind Jake's Hotel. From the lush and splendidly quirky grounds, to the overwhelmingly kind and professional staff, they are doing something truly special here.
One of the members of the staff that truly needs to be introduced is Dougie. He has been running the bar here for 26 years, serving up what I would describe as the most perfectly crafted rum drinks I have ever experienced. Just watching him work is to see a true master, a perfectionist, dare I say artist – testing the drinks by putting a drop on his palm, tasting – adding a little more sugar, a little more lime or whatever necessary until you are sitting with the most balanced, fresh and beautiful cocktail you could imagine.
We heard a rumor Dougie retired a week or so after we got home, so we would like to formally congratulate him on a retirement well earned.
Our drink of choice on this trip was the Caipirissima.
The bar is lit with energy as sunset overwhelms the horizon. It fully sinks in that we’re truly in paradise.
This being January, the greenery surrounding our room provides a stark contrast to what we left mere hours ago. A symphony of birds chirping and the ever present crash of waves was just what we needed. Walking the grounds at Jake's provides spectacular beauty on a level I can’t imagine seeing every day. It awakens fantasies of finding a way, any way, to do this more often.
Each structure here is unique, with its own distinct style. We chose a deluxe garden room for our stay and were not disappointed. With impeccably crafted architectural elements and great Jamaican art throughout, we knew the owners must have a real creative investment in the property. Turns out, the matriarch of the Jake's family is an extremely talented artist herself and has a say in all of the creative details that make the properties so exceptional.
The overall feel of our room was just awesome, warm light filtering in through the many windows.
Here is a view from the grounds directly in front of our room. Tropical plants exploding with bright hues, reflecting the diverse culture Jamaica has to offer. You can really see how red, yellow and green became the colors locals have adopted to represent to the island.
All in all, we couldn’t have found a more suitable place to come to get away from it all. Such a positive, easygoing atmosphere in an unbelievably beautiful part of the world. We hung out on the grounds, chatted with the staff and locals and had an all around great time. There are two on site restaurants. Jake’s and Jack Sprat, both providing awesome meals; with Jake's being a farm to table spot and little more formal, and Jack Sprat serving traditional Jamaican food (plus Pizza – which was actually pretty excellent), and being the local hangout.
One thing we were happy to notice, was that all of the local animals were treated really well and looked fat and happy – but of course still more than willing to share your lobster with you. Cassie, being the animal lover she is, saved every last scrap of leftover food to bring to this little one.
End of day two and Jamaica will just make ya' feel better. Optimistic about the adventures ahead. We’ve got a lot to see still, and next post we’ll be taking you to see stunning YS Falls and some great local food spots. We look forward to taking you along.
When we were approached by Clarke County Schools to to photograph their students, faculty and campuses, it was a project that we got excited about.
With all of the changes that have occurred since we were last in school, it would be an insightful look into the life of modern day students, a glimpse not into our past, but the futures of all of the young individuals that will be leading our county – and world – forward in the future.
My, how times have changed. With the rise of the internet and all of the advances that come with it, it is an exciting time for all of us to have so much information available at the click of the mouse or the touch of a tablet.
We were intrigued to see all of the new ideas in education put to work, and became just a little bit jealous of what resources these young students have at their fingertips.
Between the awesome facilities, a focus on sustainable farming, music, dance and visual arts, we can definitely see the positive impact that this diverse generation of students will have on our communities.
We appreciate the opportunity to document these bright young minds and the faculty and staff that pour their hearts into what they do every day, and hope this glimpse gives you the same optimism that it did us.
At some point or another in our lives, we’ve all had to get dressed up and go to that fancy dinner (whether we may have wanted to, or not). But while the food may be like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, there’s just something unnatural about the whole experience. And sometimes, you might find yourself wishing you would have just stayed at home in your pjs, microwaved a tv dinner, and fallen asleep on the couch.
But every now and then you’ll get lucky and you’ll find that one special restaurant that not only has unbelievably amazing food, but also a restaurant that you just instantly feel connected to, like a place that feels like your favorite memory or your old stomping grounds back at in your hometown. It's the kind of restaurant that redefines the whole experience of eating out with your friends and family- the food tastes just like momma’s cookin’, the waiters and waitresses treat you like life long friends, and you feel like you’re just at home.
And it goes without saying that when Cassie and Wesley had the pleasure of photographing the Whistling Pig Cafe, they found exactly that: a restaurant that feels just like home.
When our team met up with the folks at 6am at Whistling Pig- I chuckled. I know they’re a whole lot like me, in the sense that we all agree back at the studio that mornings are for sleeping, and days & nights are for working. But they were both so enthused to show up & check out Whistling Pig that they simply had to get there first thing in the morning- and they definitely don’t regret waking up at the crack of dawn because when they got there, they were thrilled with what they had found:
Friendly staff, delicious scents, and a beautiful setting. They knew instantly that they had struck gold in terms of restaurants, and no, that’s not just because the golden sun was just beginning to rise.
It’s the kind of place that captures what a good ol’ Southern Charming restaurant truly is. There’s nothing quite being treated with Southern Hospitality, and instantly, our crew felt at ease & comfortable- they felt at home and knew they were going to get some great shots. From the sweet waitresses that address you as “sugar and honey” to the white boards advertising “Pig Lickin’ Cake”, Whistling Pig couldn’t be a better example of hefty serving of soul can make an already great restaurant, even greater.
But what gets people lining up out of the door day after day is the out-of-this-world and unbelievably delicious food. From the perfectly seasoned ribs that fall straight off the bone to the tasty fried corn that refines the whole way one should be getting their daily serving of veggies, the food from Whistling Pig is the kind of food that’s so good, you’ll be thinking about it for days after enjoying it.
Whistling Pig started out small, but after Cassie and Wesley experienced the deliciousness of what is Whistling Pig cuisine, they understood immediately why the restaurant has had to continually expand to accommodate for its ever increasing returning customer base.
We recommend you don’t look at the following images if you’re hungry- because you’ll be practically dying to eat your computer screen after you see these tasty treats.
Aside from the delicious food, just the quirky details tastefully scattered around the restaurant truly separated from the sea of local barbecue shops. Customers honor Whistling Pig by bringing them unique pig statues, figurines, and decorations as a thank you for serving them such wonderful food. Cassie was surprised and never thought she’d take a picture of a Pin Up Pig figurine, but you know what they say… there’s a first time for everything. And these unique idiosyncrasies made for some interesting shots.
We can’t say thank you enough to Whistling Pig for letting our team come photograph them. And if I’m being honest, after looking at these pictures of delicious foods, I might have to grab some of my girlfriends and make a road trip up to Whistling Pig and try it out myself.
Sometimes, it’s not always about the destination, but it’s the journey along the way that makes the adventure worthwhile. And during Cassie and Wesley’s shoot for Meridian Lines Magazine, the journey they experienced along the way made for an adventure they’ll never want to forget.
To say that Cassie and Wesley were blown away during this shoot would be a massive understatement- between the spectacular sights, the friendly subjects they shot, and the beautiful boat that was their vessel, they couldn't help but get some great images.
They couldn’t emphasize enough how much they enjoyed the overall experience photographing in such a vibrant and beautiful setting. Just listening to their stories made me want to grab my best friends, get in my car, and road trip to Lake Lanier to check out everything they were enthusiastically telling me about. The wonderful family they traveled with throughout the day during their shoot were some of the sweetest people they’ve met.That, in combination with both the Meridian 541 Sedan's lavish design and luxurious features, made it a truly unforgettable experience.
Just the scenery alone completely took their breaths away. The glittering azure waters and the lush forestry of Lake Lanier Islands provided the perfect atmosphere to compliment their experience.
When the golden hour struck and the sun blazed the waters and the trees, they felt as if they had entered a whole new world.
All in all, Cassie and Wesley felt like they were in the the perfect atmosphere to capture their subjects relaxing and just getting away. And if they’re being honest, they had such a great time shooting that we almost forgot that they were working.
That's when you know you're getting the best kind of shots.
From my own personal experiences with photography, I’ve learned that there's nothing more rewarding knowing you're taking your favorite photos because you felt so in tune with the subjects, the scenery, and the experience. And after Cassie and Wesley reviewed their photos later, they felt themselves reliving the great time they had photographing, cruising, and enjoying the shoot at Lake Lanier with these wonderful people. As I was thumbing through them, I felt like I was there, and that’s when you know you’re looking at a stunning set of photos from a successful photo shoot.
Cassie and Wesley would like to thank Meridian Lines Magazine for having them explore and journey with them, and honestly, after review the pictures, I might have to make a great get away and check them out too.
These are just a few words to describe the beautiful Pine Mountain town. But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let this photo do all the talking:
But seriously- if we had to use just one word to describe our visit to Pine Mountain, it would be this: unforgettable. We had a great time exploring this remarkable town and all it has to offer. From its charming residents to its outstanding sights, Pine Mountain was filled with so many interesting subjects that made for some of our favorite photos ever.
And truly, these people are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the out; those greeting us in Pine Mountain are some of the kindest folks we’ve ever met in our life. Literally- everyone we met was just so nice. It’s not hard to see why these people are filled with so much joy… living in a town filled with delicious bakeries, beautiful boutiques, and stunning sights cultivates a kind of happiness that simply must be shared with others. And although we were just visitors, we felt the love from the town’s residents as they treated us like we were lifelong friends.
Even the little details around town made a big impact on our overall impression of how stunning this town truly is:
Aside from how kind the town’s residents were, we were just blown away by the variety of things to do and things to see Pine Mountain had to offer. From the glittering golf courses of Callaway Gardens to breathtaking mountain views of FDR State Park, Pine Mountain was rich in beautiful sights that made for even more beautiful portraits.
Located in Athens, Georgia, we are a photo team that specializes in shooting for Entertainment, Advertising, Editorial and Fashion clients throughout the Southeast and on location anywhere. We pride ourselves in creating images that tell a story, and I see every project as an opportunity to deliver interesting, beautiful photography. Reach us by phone at 770.519.0525 or email at email@example.com.