The Secret of the South Atlantic
Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island situated in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world.
When Saint Helena Tourism contacted me about a brand new photographic refresh, I approached the assignment with the intention of uncovering unexplored sides of the island and celebrating the diversity of its ecosystem. The photographic approach was chosen on the basis of faithfulness to St. Helena's core identity and personality: colour palette rich in contrast, layered composition, and warm stillness pervading each shot.
Over the course of seven days spent on the island, I tried to capture and integrate local faces, hidden town corners and new perspectives with the whole array of scenarios on display: tropical forest, countryside, desert, steep hills, and rugged coastlines.
Here is an overview of this Atlantic gem's new visual identity.
Capital of Saint Helena, with a population of 629 and over 100 listed buildings - mostly built by the East India Company in the 18th century - Jamestown was founded in 1659.
While the relatively small size may suggest that a quick stroll is enough to explore it, a few steps towards dock and upper streets reveal many more of the unique corners and features that truly "make" Jamestown.
The city is connected to the above Ladder Hill Fort by the Jacob's Ladder, 699 steps with a current ascending record of 5 minutes, 16.78 seconds.
Preliminary research into St. Helena had shown plenty of landscapes, but not many local faces: an open invitation to explore people and street atmosphere to the fullest, for a multifaceted portrait of the authentic Saint Helenian lifestyle.
To keep the island's identity firmly present throughout the shoot, I photographed the locals in the context of their respective working and living environments in a series of candid stills. The visual outcome intends to honour the strong bond between Saint Helenians and their homeland.
Saint Helenians are locally known as "Saints".
Flora & Fauna
Jonathan the tortoise is the oldest living terrestrial animal. Hatched in the Seychelles, he was brought to Saint Helena towards the end of the 19th century. As he officially turns 190 years old in 2022, it's worth remembering that an official birth date is still missing, and Jonathan may as well be over 200 years old.
He is in good company: along with three other giant tortoises, the island is also home to over 500 endemic plant and animal species. The most iconic ones are the shy St. Helena Plover (better known as "Wirebird", also symbol of the island) and the Blushing Snail.