The Faces of Jamaica

There is no denying that the people of Jamaica are among the most colourful in the world.  It’s not only in their look, but also in their personalities.  Jamaicans, for the most part, are eccentric, outgoing, curious and very friendly.  To top it all off you’d be hard pressed to find a Jamaican that doesn’t have an interesting hairdo, colourful clothing and an infectious smile to go along with that great personality.  Over the past couple of months I’ve made it a goal to start taking more profiles and photos of the people in each location I travel.  I realized that this was the largest aspect of my photography missing so far, and what better descriptor of a country is there than the people?  I don’t carry any fancy flash system with me, I like the way natural light, shadows, and light glares adds to the images.  For me it gives the image a much more raw look.

During my week in Jamaica I made capturing the colourful faces of the people a priority.  I’ll be honest in saying that getting photos of people is always a bit of a matter of nervousness for me.  My shy side comes out when I try to ask people for photos of them, but I am improving and I think that the number of shots I got in my “Faces of Jamaica” series proves that my courage is growing.  For the record, unless the person photographed is a performer, or someone I know personally, I always ask them if they mind I photograph them before snapping away.  I hope you enjoy these photos of the people of Jamaica.  I’d love to hear your thoughts of the images.  How do you approach someone you want to photograph?  Which one of these images is your favourite?


A drummer before he performs for us


A guide is silhouetted at the Rose Hall Great House


A carpenter relaxing near the kitchen of Sctochies Restaurant


A dancer performing at the RIU hotel in Negril


A guitarist plays for us as we eat at the RIU Montego Bay

Toothless man

By far my favourite of the faces was a man I found in the market in Montego Bay

Boat Captain

The Boat Captain of our Catamaran Cruise in Montego Bay


Our waitress at scotchies was not a jerk… but the food was jerk


Our tour leader, and overall good dude, Jerron

White dreads

My dude again, this time watching the performance at the market

Jamaican Dancer

A dancer

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. wonderful pictures !!

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    • Thanks Fabio and Stephanie!

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  2. Great shots Brendan.
    I especially like the guy with the gray dreadlocks… That’s probably how Bob Marley would have looked like if he wouldn’t have died so soon.

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  3. Awesome shots, Brandon! Your “dude at the market” is also my favorite! What an expressive face!

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    • @Amanda – That dude was posing for me like a model. Kept saying “oh what about this angle, this pose, hat off???” haha

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  4. Beautiful pictures!

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    • Thanks Claudine

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  5. Absolutely beautiful people! I can not wait to experience Jamaica in the near future. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. Lovely photos, but missing pictures of children, I think. Also, I wonder if a couple of the captions correctly describe the photos,e.g.,the one of the dancer taking a bow. Nevertheless, well done!

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  7. Love love love these. The background of the first one almost seems unreal. And I love what you said about the market guy posing. lol

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  8. “Your dude” is my favorite too, but if it weren’t for him it would be so hard to choose between the others! I love your philosophy about light and about courtesy in asking. I don’t find it easy either, and as a result I usually rush them and often they turn out badly, which is why I stick to landscapes. I should take a leaf from your book. End of the day, most people like to have their photos taken!

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  9. what fantastic photos!!!

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    • Thanks Laura!

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    • @Jasmine – If I know how much you love rastas… you’d probably tried to date him!

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  10. wonderful portrait collection! the old man from the market in Montego Bay is awesome:)

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    • Thanks so much… that market shot is one of my favourites of all time.

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  11. They are beautiful! I don’t take enough pictures of people… these inspire me to try a little more though in the future.

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    • Thanks Sabrina, It’s something I struggle with too, but photographing people is one of the most rewarding things out there!

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