Patrice SadaphaL has merged her love for photography and sightseeing to create a bit of nostalgia for Trinis, particularly those living abroad or those who aren’t venturing out much due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She is the co-founder of Pink Boat Studios, a small fine art and nostalgic souvenir company that was launched three years ago. The self-taught photographer, along with her business partner Zaidee Walker, captures the sights and scenes of Trinidad and Tobago to produce Nostalgia, A Trinidad and Tobago Photo Book.

While Sadaphal, a nature lover, has a passion for capturing Trinidad and Tobago’s natural beauty, Walker, the artist, and business partner, turns the photos into paintings. Sadaphal got involved in photography in 2016. At the time, she was working in the corporate world and realised that she needed to find her true life’s purpose.

A local photographer whom Sadaphal met through a good friend was willing to give the budding photographer a crash course on how to use her new camera and how to edit photos using Adobe Lightroom, which gave Sadaphal the confidence to delve further into the world of photography.

Sadaphal sees beauty in a lot of simple things. While she uses her skills to benefit her business, photography also helps her to cope with clinical depression. “I love to just stop and snap mostly seascape and nature scenes.

I hope to provide my viewers with serene, peaceful photos, ultimately giving off a simple but effective viewing experience,” she said.

“I was yearning for something to balance my life. I knew that sitting behind a desk, in a room for eight hours, Monday to Friday, was not it. I was working various office jobs since I was 18 years old and I needed something desperately to provide proper balance in my life. I used my iPhone 5S up until I got my first DSLR Canon camera in 2017.

“My aim as a photographer is to introduce my audience to the natural beauty of Trinidad and Tobago. I go on adventures with my business partner, artist Zaidee Walker. I capture beautiful scenes with my camera and she turns the photos into paintings. The photo book is a collection of photos from these road trips.”

She said: “It is not a standard book of photos; it can be customised for each client. They get to choose photos from my collection and can include personal photos of their own. Some examples of the photos that can be included are photos of Mayaro, San Fernando Hill, beaches along the North Coast and the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Nature and seascapes

“The whole concept of the book started when a supporter of mine, a Trinidadian living in Denmark, wanted a collection of photos of places that remind her of home. She chose 30 photos from my collection which I put into a book that I called Nostalgia, a Trinidad and Tobago Photo Book.

She continued: “I titled it that because it is really targeted to Trinis abroad who would have a nostalgic feeling towards their home country. Coincidentally, this book was made before Covid-19 came along so I decided to do a launch on our online platform to offer it to the Trinis who could really benefit from the book during Covid times.

“My style of photos is simple nostalgia. I love taking photos of nature, seascapes, landscapes and island life. I want people to feel relaxed, and also provide a mental escape for those who are struggling to get through their work day, because I was familiar with that feeling.”

“Exploring outdoors also benefits me in terms of my mental health because I suffer from clinical depression. When I take photos, my mind is able to switch off and just get lost and be present in that moment, with the added bonus of capturing what I see through my lens at that particular moment in time,” Sadaphal said.

Referring to her business relationship with Walker, Sadaphal said everything happens just as it’s supposed to. “I strongly believe that everything happens at the right time. In May 2018 I was laid off by my employers due to financial and economic problems. My business partner and I had already decided before that time to start a fine art and nostalgic souvenir business.

“Launching Pink Boat Studios was an organic move. Getting laid off further solidified our idea, so it was an easy decision to make. Jumping into any unfamiliar territory is always nerve-wrecking. My previous work experience and education provided a good foundation to launch our business. I was not hesitant because I wanted freedom and control over my time for many years and I finally got it! I was ready to move on from the corporate world.

High-quality souvenirs

“It came naturally to Zaidee Walker because she was a freelance artist and dancer for years. My anxiety was high mainly because of one reason; I was switching from receiving a fixed monthly salary during my working days to not knowing what my income would be at the end of each month. As for Pink Boat Studios, our aim is to provide affordable art to customers, and also to use our art and photos to create high-quality souvenirs and functional items which are different from the generic items you see in the tourist shops.”

She added: “Our aim is to inspire and encourage others to go outdoors into nature, especially in these times where social media tends to take up a lot of your time, is another goal I hope to achieve. Disconnecting from technology does wonders for your mental health and includes exploring and getting to know the natural beauty of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Sadaphal hopes to explore the Caribbean islands in the near future and expand her business on online platforms.

“Selling digital printables and downloads of my images on online platforms is the next step for me. I would also like to continue to add to my collection of photos for customers to choose from, for their personalised Nostalgic photo book, and maybe in two years’ time I would like to be part of a photography exhibition in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Caribbean islands are definitely on my exploring list. Tobago first, though, because there are a lot of different beaches to capture and I can add them to my online portfolio.”

For copies of Nostalgia, A Trinidad and Tobago Photo Book , simply message Pink Boat Studios on Facebook or Instagram.

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