Tapestry of Tales – Bermuda by Amanda Temple
by Brigitta Wohlmuth
There exist countless photography books showing off Bermuda’s beautiful views; the picturesque beaches, colorful flora and cloudless skies… “But behind closed doors, how people live, we don’t really see that,” says local fine- art photographer Amanda Temple, reflecting on the premise of her book, Tapestry of Tales Bermuda. After five long years in the works, the book (her first ever!) launches May 2017 and is available island-wide or at www.tapestryoftales.com.
Amanda is well-known for her signature style of editing that often adds an element of surrealism, but this latest project is quite different from the dreamy wedding portraits and composite images that she’s used to. The idea struck her back in 2011. While driving home, she passed by a house that caught her eye. The crumbling paint on its walls was the color of the ocean, and from the outside she glimpsed a pair of luxurious curtains peeking through the window that she felt didn’t seem to match. This intrigued her. “I wanted to know who lived there, and I literally had an epiphany,” she continues as I open her book and begin to thumb through its pages. After scrupulous planning, shooting and editing, the finished product she’s created is a rare collection of portraits; 252 pages of vivid and bold photography that captures the people of Bermuda in their homes, woven together by their stories. “I wanted to capture where people live, how they live, and the objects that are meaningful to them,” Amanda explains. Printed in limited edition, if you would like a signed copy of the book then visit her at Harbour Nights– on Front Street every Wednesday from 7pm.
“It’s interesting because when I started I thought I’d only have a 50% success rate.” She knocked randomly on doors and made a lot of phone calls to find her subjects – a mix of local residents, a few she knew and many complete strangers. She was surprised that of the 81 people she approached, only 6 were unwilling to participate. “People were so kind and open; far more than I thought they’d be,” she tells me. The result of her social experiment proves not only how friendly Bermudians are, but also the great diversity of our residents. “The collection really shows what a melting pot the island is, and how wonderfully different we all are.”
While many of her subjects are ordinary residents, her book also features the homes and thoughts of many well-known public figures, such as the former Attorney General, Kim Wilson, Chewstick’s Gavin ‘Djata’ Smith, the late Johnny Barnes and Premier Michael Dunkley. “It had not really been my goal to be political, or timely, but that just happened because of the nature of events going on when I was out shooting.” Some of the interviews touch on recent news topics, like the controversial Pathways to Status legislation, the America’s Cup and the devastating fire on Front Street last July.
“There are several morsels that paint a picture of contemporary life in Bermuda, but the stories are not just Bermuda-centric,” Amanda notes. Eventually, she would like to continue the series in other countries, because what she found was that despite many differing categories like race, nationality, or socio-economic status, the common thread throughout was love. Hence the silver heart on the cover, which is a precious family-heirloom and symbolic of the moral of her story – that no matter who’s behind the door, or where that door may be, ‘home really is where the heart is.’
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