Jamaica Gleaner / Growing up in the tough inner-city community of Southside in central Kingston, Patrick Planter discovered his passion for the fine arts. As a youngster, it was not an easy road for him as he always had to be alert in his surroundings, quite often contemplating what would happen next.
“It was a violent community, and there was never a dull moment down there,” Planter said.
Engaging his creative side, Planter started creating designs for shoes that he envisioned people would wear. “Designing shoes is something I just think about and I am able to put it on paper just off the top of my head. While putting the design on paper, I am able to create the style of the shoes and I bear in mind who would wear them while drawing it,” he said.
Despite fine arts being at the forefront of his mind, the former Clan Carthy High School standout enrolled at the HEART Trust/NTA and pursued studies in data entry but soon realised that this area was definitely not his calling.
“It was what was available at the time and kept me occupied, but it was not helping me in my development. I wanted more. I was encouraged to find a skills set programme to do and decided to enroll at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts,” Planter said.
In memory of his father, Planter, who also admired Jamaican painter Barrington Watson and Jamaican artist David Boxer, initially wanted to pursue painting at the college. However, as luck would have it, at the time of his application, all the courses he had in mind were full, except photography.
“I signed up and paid for the photography course, but I did not have the required digital camera so I had to buy one. I had $115,000 in my account and I spent $105,000 on the camera. I had never spent so much money on one item in my entire life,” Planter said.
The indomitable Jamaican artist Donnette Zacca, Jamaica’s first lady of photography, became Planter’s mentor. He spent three years at the Edna Manley College taking evening courses at the time. “I covered so many areas in photography and I was able to see things from a different angle and create images that can tell a story and persons can relate to it,” Planter said.
While at the college, Planter collaborated on projects with the Edna Manley Foundation, where he was the key photographer in photo-documenting a compilation of pieces by world-renowned visual artist Edna Manley. The pieces were showcased in the print publication for the 2015 memorial exhibition ‘Into the Sun’.
SEEING ART EVERYWHERE
Planter also had the opportunity to work with David Boxer on one of his publications. “I see myself as a fine arts photographer because I am able to see art in areas that people do not see,” he said.
He has also entered the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition while at Edna Manley. Awards for his work include bronze and silver medals for his works Moist in 2013 and Resilience in 2015.
In 2015, Planter exhibited his first professional photography series ‘Overstanding’ at Kingston on the Edge (KOTE). The pieces, titled Overstand , Overthink , Overachieve and Overview , consisted of four images highlighting the various stages on the educational ladder and the struggle for those studying to comprehend.
“You have many students who go through to tertiary education and do not like their area of study, but they go ahead nevertheless because of society’s demand, and also that of their parents. Education is not just what you learn, but it is the passion within your heart. If you have no passion, you will have no drive or sustainability,” Planter said.
“Sometimes I feel as if I am not moving forwards, but when I look back at where I am coming from, it has been a tremendous transition. I am proud of where I am now and where I see myself going,” Planter added.