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Seeing the big picture

UTECH student starts photography business with cellphone

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014    

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AT 21 years of age and on the verge of completing a Bachelor of Science degree in quantity surveying at the University of Technology, Davion Forbes has found his niche — photography.

But neither was in the future he envisioned for himself while in secondary school in Moneague, St Ann.

"While at York Castle High I was convinced that I was going to be an architect and I did eight CSEC [Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate] subjects and a diploma in construction at Brown's Town Community College in order to achieve that goal. However, while at Brown's Town I realised that architecture was not very marketable in Jamaica but quantity surveyors were in demand, and though architecture is not my passion, I still do 3D (three- dimension) drawings," Forbes said.

Where photography is concerned, Forbes said it was in the summer of 2012 that he realised his love for the artform and started out taking pictures with his cellphone.

"I was at home watching the sunset and thought to myself: 'What if I could capture that moment?"

But doing this regularly meant he would have to invest in something of good quality and he managed to save enough money to purchase a phone with a good camera.

"I decided that in order to do this I would have to make it happen, so I 'starved' myself and used my lunch money to buy myself a Nokia 808 PureView phone, which at the time cost US$550, and I must say it was fitting that Nokia designed this phone as I knew it would work and it did," he said.

However, Forbes was determined to reach even further in photography, and while on internship at the Housing Agency of Jamaica, he embarked on a mission to acquire a professional camera.

"I didn't want to stop at just the phone, so I once again 'starved' myself and saved the money from my internship and purchased a Nikon D3100 camera to get more work of professional quality done," he said.

Forbes started out doing promotional work to gain recognition in the area, eventually snagging his first paying gig in March, 2013. From there, he started earning and was able to expand his range of tools to include a camera bag, lights, a flash and different lenses.

With his newfound love, he has lent his services to such charitable causes in Jamaica as Feed the Homeless Day in downtown Kingston by doing shoots for Facebook groups Mad People Corna, I am Jamaican and Proud Jamaican.

Forbes believes sucess in photography is dependent on constant improvement of one's skill and broadening one's area of expertise. As such, he is currently experimenting with nude photography, which he said is unpopular because of its nature.

"Many individuals don't do it because of an innate fear, but it is different and I like to go out on a limb and take on seemingly difficult tasks. The different angles, curves and shapes of bodies are fascinating and I want to explore that more. When you do things differently you get people's attention," Forbes said.

"If you have a product and it's lacking service you will either improve it or sell it. If you're good at something, sell it and people will buy it because you're good. People saw my work and decided to support me and at present I'm juggling school and doing different shoots across the island to make this thing work," he added.

He stressed that taking a leap of faith is also not to be overlooked in the success matrix.

"It's a calculated risk. If you don't ask, the answer will always be no and if you're not failing, it means you haven't tried. Stop worrying about making mistakes and just try. Many success stories of today didn't reach fame on the first attempt," the young man said.

He credits his mother Veronica Campbell, and lighting assistant and girlfriend Sasha-Gaye Kirlew with motivating him on his journey.

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