Newsday photographer Ayanna Kinsale wants her media colleagues to step out of their professional box and explore more creative outlets.
Kinsale was one of 20 artists showing their work in the gallery’s Through the Eyes of Women: A tapestry of Trinbago’s Art exhibition, which ran from April 3-13.
Kinsale was happy to have Speaker of the House Bridgette Annisette-George view her work and give feedback on it.
She showed three pieces of her work there after being invited by Keba Jacob Mottley, an artist and the Rotunda Gallery’s curator.
Kinsale was first asked to submit for the Parliamentary Story exhibition, held during TT’s diamond jubilee celebrations last year.
She considered submitting a photo of the late prime minister Patrick Manning that showed him sitting and looking back, engaging in discussion with opposition senators. He was smiling in the photo, and “the other members of Parliament were really interested in the conversation.
“It was so good to see the leader of the Government and the members of the Opposition having a casual conversation.”
Kinsale felt it was nice, but not strong enough to submit. She told Jacob Mottley this and said she would submit for the next available exhibition.
Jacob Mottley kept Kinsale’s number, and contacted her for the next one.
Kinsale said she knew she had strong pieces to contribute this time.
“I submitted three pieces. They did not accept the original third piece, and I then switched it and submitted my Healing through Horses piece.”
She had initially chosen a sports photo. She consulted Newsday’s acting editor in chief Camille Moreno, who helped with the selections.
“I knew the Carnival piece – the Washer Woman – I knew that was a sure, sure piece, because of the colours, the composition, everything. I knew it was a strong piece.”
Kinsale has been at Newsday since 2019 and has been a professional photographer for over 11 years, but had never done anything like this.
“It was not something I would have thought about, but (professional photographer) Marlon Rouse – he was a photo consultant at Newsday between July to September last year – was saying, ‘You all need to look at photography not just as photography, but fine art.
“He said, ‘We are artists.’ He kept saying, ‘No. Don’t just look at it as: you go out on an assignment, you take a photo and that is it. No. You can showcase your work. We are artists and we do a great job.’”
Jacob Mottley is also the president of the Art Society, and had a similar approach.
“I said, 'They really making sense,'” Kinsale said.
So she decided to participate.
“It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made in my career as a photographer.”
The move has pushed her to do more, as well as to view her work with more respect.
“It gives you that inspiration to do different things and gives you a different perspective of your work. You see your work different, you shoot your work different. It puts a different spark in you to see photos differently and to take a different angle.”
She plans to participate in more exhibitions and available international competitions.
The gallery has an exhibition in May and she has already selected two images to submit.
She also credits a colleague, reporter Narissa Fraser, with igniting her spark by sending her a link to the AIPS Sport Media Awards in 2020.
There were two pieces she could have submitted, but did not, because she felt her work was not ready. She looked at previous winners from that competition before deciding not to do so, but she said, “That pushed me to capture sports differently.”
Kinsale feels sometimes photographers are so caught up in capturing the moment that they miss the emotion of it. This is only seen in spaces like a gallery, she added, saying she only saw the beauty in her Cool River Day photo after it was printed and hung in the exhibition.
But Kinsale is so convinced now of the artistic aspect of media photographers' work that she gave the gallery the names of other media colleagues whom she felt should also submit images.
“I believe photographers have a space at the Rotunda gallery, with the work that we do. I believe we can have our own exhibition.”