How the Photographers of St William Grant Park are beating smartphone Selfies

“The smartphones affect me too, but not much. My problem is the restrictions that them have for us in the park. Them lock up the two main gate them so my customers who use to come look for me, can’t find me now”

Photographer Lionel Grant, 73, who has been taking photographs inside the St William Grant Park for the last 40 years

Analog photography is currently experiencing a renaissance right now with the US$99 Polaroid Snap (Deer, 2015, September 8). POV (Point of View) video and photography is now cheaper thanks to the US$100 Polaroid Cube (Jermaine, 2015, September 10) and the US$65 Xiaomi Yi (Deer, 2015, March 27).

MICO Wars - How the Photographers of St William Grant Park are beating smartphone Selfies - 21-02-2016 LHDEER

These technologies help to capture video and photographs with comparable levels of quality when compared to a regular street photographer, such as those who frequent the St William Grant Park in Downtown Kingston. Many of these photographers complain that business has slowed down due to the regulations imposed in the Park, mainly:

  • Closure of the park at 8:00 p.m.
  • Early closure of its eastern and western gates
  • Prohibition of holiday backdrops inside the park
  • Prohibition on couples necking and kissing

However, they are quick to point out that despite these gadgets, they still get customers, especially from Graduations, VISA applicants and funerals. The street photographer charges a fair price for their high quality images:

  • JA$250 for one full-body photograph
  • JA$300 for a passport-size photo

So why have their prices remained unchanged despite the rise of smartphones and selfies?

The Photographer of St William Grant Park – Analog Instant Portrait Photography Renaissance

This as albeit there is a renaissance in Analog photography as evidenced by such competitions as NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) World Wetlands Day 2016 Digital Photography Competition (Brown, 2016, January 13), most Jamaican aren’t professional photographers.

Many smartphones do not have the same photo quality as a DSLR Camera such as the Samsung NX1 (Deer, 2015, May 15) or any camera with Regular film. This is because they have a smaller aperture than a normal camera, which means less light and thus poorer quality images. Add to this fact the use of Digital Image Sensors and the result is pixilated images when one zooms in (Deer, 2015, August 2), no matter how professional or expensive your smartphone.

Plus, many of their customers tend to come for their services during graduations, VISA applicants and funerals, simply because their smartphones are low on storage space, already chock full of selfies and battery power is low, as many forget to carry a battery Charger (Deer, 2014, July 9).

Then there is the need for instant gratification of a physical copy of your graduation pictures, according to photographer Wayne Russell in the St William Grant Park: “This is from roll film days; from that time till now, the price don’t move. Some people, like when we go to some graduation, will use we because them have them phone but them memory full up or dem battery dead. That is how we get a little work there”.

For this reason, their prices have remained unchanged, as most smartphones, not even the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (Deer, 2015, August 2), can hold up a candle to these DSLR such as the Samsung NX1 (Deer, 2015, May 15).

Hopefully the regulations in the St William Grant Park in Downtown Kingston will be lifted so that this noble art of Instant Portrait Photography, still unimpeded by Technology’s march, can also experience its renaissance in Jamaica.


  1. Deer, L. (2014, July 9). How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger. Retrieved from
  2. Deer, L. (2015, March 27). US$65 Xiaomi Yi is GoPro Competition on Xiaomi’s 5th Anniversary. Retrieved from
  3. Deer, L. (2015, May 15). Samsung NX1 wins 10th TIPA award. Retrieved from
  4. Deer, L. (2015, August 2). How to take High Quality Photographs with the Samsung Galaxy S6. Retrieved from
  5. Deer, L. (2015, September 8). US$99 Polaroid Snap is the perfect Christmas gift for your Vinyl loving Hipster Photographer. Retrieved from
  6. (2015, September 10). US$100 Polaroid Cube is designed to stick with you. Retrieved from
  7. Brown, K. (2016, January 13). World Wetlands Day – Photography Competition by NEPA. Retrieved from



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