Romana Caban-Chastas, aka BlxckDreadShots, Guadeloupe fashion and portrait photographer
Today I want to focus on an incredibly talented and beautiful artist. Romana Caban-Chastas is a photographer from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, situated between Dominica and Montserrat. Her practice centres on portrait and fashion photography. Romana finds her influence in her island and its landscape but also in the capital city she lives in, Point-à-Pitre.
I instantly fell in love with her style, even though simple, the colours, choice of models and landscape are mesmerising. Each time some new pictures come up I am amazed by the beauty of it. There is a vintage colour to the picture which gives the photographs some sort of a dramatic feature. The models are of incredible beauty and simple - real people. Although the work can make transport our dreamy minds, it surely portrays a reality of the island and its people, the diversity of its population. Romana represents all shapes, styles, colours, and age, very often focusing on the gaze, which is probably what perturbs me a little. Very active on Instagram, this is where I found her. There is always a sort of teaser, a short film she post to advertise her new post which I find part of her art. It is interesting to see the models moving in a glowing and amazing landscape.
Romana, aka Romy, started to practice as a professional in 2014/15 but really got into portrait photography in 2017. Romy understands the importance of culture, arts and heritage of Guadeloupe and wants to represent her country overseas by showing unusual scenery and people that would differ from the stereotypical image of a Caribbean island. Deeply influenced by fashion magazines, her practice could also be qualified as fashion photography. She has been published in different magazine such as Nude @nude.mag, Top Posters @topposters_mag, quite recently in Féroce @ferocemagazine, and she also made a series of photographs of her sister during lockdown for Something Different @somethingdifferentmagazine. She has practice different type of portrait and fashion photography such as editorial and commercial. She has worked with jewellery, swimsuit, lingerie and clothings brands.
Romy was also inspired by several women in her modus operandi: Adrienne Raquel (@adreienneraquel), American photographer and director, she has been inspired by her career and style; Jessica Kobeissi (@jessicakobeissi), American/Arabic photographer, we sense her influence in colourful images and the choice of a diversity of people; and Diane Arbus, an American photographer who focused on photographing marginalised groups.