The founder of Blackwood Imaging, a photography collective, David Berg is dedicated to showcasing the culture and artists of the Caribbean Islands. He is a Caribbean native and lives, shoots, and edits just outside of Fredriksted, St. Croix on an old Danish plantation close to his family home.
David's philosophy is 'keep it simple.' He lives in a spartan studio without a definitive boundary from the lush grounds of the plantation surrounding it. He just got his first real computer; he's been editing his photos on an old laptop for years now. He shoots underwater solely with a GoPro, and when land calls, he typically travels with two lenses, a flat lens and a fish-eye. His other equipment includes a mask, snorkel, and fins, all the easier to chase down the perfect underwater light, catch Moko Jumbies mid-stride, or island hop to the next Carnival.
David never thought he would be a photographer. During his childhood on St. Croix, he danced as a Moko Jumbie, which early on solidified as his artistic identity. This creative outlet morphed into wrestling and mixed martial arts when he moved stateside in his teens. The beauty of the body, and all it was capable of, captivated him and easily translated to success in the ring. A misplaced kick left him on crutches, unable to express himself physically for six months. During this time, a teacher put a camera in his hands hoping to distract him and reignite his spirit.
David quickly found that the view finder captured the beauty of the body and its surroundings in a whole new way. The camera could be used to add another dimension to the frozen moment: what was present, and what was missing. He vividly remembers his first picture of a bench, an empty bench, and how that emptiness brought out a feeling that the presence of a body could not have portrayed. The camera also offered him a chance to reconnect, with St. Croix, Caribbean culture, and his past. From this new perspective behind the camera, David found a reflection, and expansion, of his early Moko Jumbie experiences.
David currently uses his photography to capture not only the present but also the past--that which has been largely forgotten or ignored. The history, the hidden depths of each person, each family, each building, place, and culture fascinates him and he is constantly on a mission to illuminate it through his view finder. He describes himself as a "student of his camera," discovering new lessons of composition, balance, and opposition in the very moment he is capturing the photo. He shoots for himself, to better himself, and is still pleasantly surprised when others find value in his work. He hopes he can use his new-found talent to preserve and document Caribbean culture, as well as express its rich depths to visitors and new arrivals.
When David isn't in the ocean or in the rainforest with his camera, you can find him working as a veterinary assistant, renovating the Danish plantation where he lives, or enjoying a famous West-end sunset on the beach with his dogs, Ray and Wolfie.
"I showcased "Casa Las Americas" in Cuba this past May and with the traveling show, "Invisable Heritage," in Denmark at the VI Cultural Embassy in June where I will return to showcase again in September at the Borreby Estate owned by the Castenschiold/van Holten family. Museum Vestsjaelland and the family are arranging the event together.
"Invisable Heritage," opened on St. Croix at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted prior to Transfer Day in March and continued through July. Next, I will have a photography exhibit of never-seen-before images, called "Memories of noname," on St. Croix in August and September at the Peachcan Gallery on Strand Street, Christiansted. The photos in this feature, and others, can be purchased from my website below."
David A. Berg, Blackwood Imaging
St. Croix This Week | St. Thomas + St. John This Week
Location: # 1 Havensight Way, St. Thomas, VI 00802
Mailing Address: PO Box 11199 St. Thomas, VI 00801-4199
Telephone: (340) 774-2500
Fax: (340) 776-1466