Elton told me no one had ever taken photos of his dread locks before. He normally keeps them tucked away in a dark blue knit cap, at work and when walking around his village, Maskall.
When I first saw him, well before my first horseriding class, I felt something special about him (all right, besides the fact that he is not so hard on the eyes). When I did meet him, he was genuine, kind and tried his best to alleviate my fear of horses (that’s not ever happening by the way).
While we rode through the back rainforest of Maruba Resort, directing my horse and his, we talked about Ethiopia, his Rastafarian faith and his mixed Garifuna and Creole heritage.
I was relieved to be off that horse after an hour but I knew I couldn’t leave without capturing him. I explained to him that I was collecting portraits of Belizeans for a special project called “Faces of Belize” to showcase Belize’s diversity. That I wanted to include him and that I only photographed people who somehow touched my spirit. He was more than willing. “Anything I can do to help,” were his words.
A few minutes into our shoot he removed the cap, as if he had wanted to do that for a while, letting his locks down and posing for photos for the first time in his life in the hot sun and for as long as I needed.
This is an outtake from the shoot. The final one I picked for my “Faces of Belize” project has yet to be released, along with the remaining 15 portraits. I will share my plans for those in the near future.