Picture Show: A Side of Kingston, Jamaica, the Tourist Never Sees

In 2008 and in 2009, the photographer Caroll Taveras ventured to Jamaica on two assignments, one for Culture and Travel and another for The...

In 2008 and in 2009, the photographer Caroll Taveras ventured to Jamaica on two assignments, one for Culture and Travel and another for The Guardian. For the former, her work focused on the development of downtown Kingston, specifically as related to a youth art and cultural center known as the Rock Tower and the distinction between the areas of the city that are considered safe (uptown) and unsafe (downtown). After completing the assignment, Taveras developed a deep attachment for the area, and during her time there (and on her next assignment) Taveras felt compelled to keep taking photographs.

"When you get sent out on an assignment, even great assignments, you're following a checklist," she says. "But I always try to do something for myself. After I cover the ground I have to cover, I look for a few other things. Of course, music is such a big thing in Jamaica, and I, personally, was obsessed with dancehall girls."

What follows is a selection of photographs from Kingston, Jamaica, through the lens of Caroll Taveras. This is a Jamaica you might not see in tourist brochures, and it's all the more beautiful for it.


Kymane, dancehall girl

Rose Town

Hill Shire Beach


Hill Shire Beach

Preparing chicken, Rose Town

Southside Kingston

Boy, Rock Tower

Kids, Trenchtown Reading Center

Mr. Black and kids

Young journalist in Mocho, Jamaica

Mural, art by Danny Coxsone


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