Photographer: Martei Korley
Location: Somewhere in the Caribbean Sea
Pic of the Week was one of the original LargeUp features: A series of dispatches from co-founder, creative director and chief photographer Martei Korley. Now, we’re bringing it back. Each Friday morning, we’ll share a different image illuminating the richness of the Caribbean experience. Expect culture, music, tradition, food, family, fashion, agriculture — the full breadth of things.
This Monday, more than 4,000 guests (and over 1,300 crew members) will board Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, one of the world’s three largest cruise ships, for the third-annual Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise. With stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, the cruise carries passengers to Jamaica both literally and figuratively, with a week of on-board entertainment from the island’s top artists and selectors. There’s other cruises with reggae music, but none where you’ll see Shinehead and Elephant Man toasting over a live dub session from King Jammy, or catch iconic sound systems like Metro Media and Mighty Crown going head-to-head in a clash.
Behind this floating reggae festival is Jr. Gong, Damian Marley, who’s organized the Jamrock Cruise with his management team since 2014. For many onboard, the pinnacle of each voyage is of course a live set from Marley himself; each of the last two years have brought family-filled performances that see one of reggae music’s greatest entertainers joined by his brothers and close friends like Cham and Spragga Benz.
Here, we see Gongzilla alone, sans crew, as he takes in the crowd, mid-set, basking in the accomplishment of a job well done.
“I always find it interesting to think about what goes into a great show — the preparation and ingredients in the whole recipe, not just the show itself,” Martei says. “Having photographed Jr. Gong many times over his career, I have never questioned his work ethic and dedication. The relentless preparation to express one’s sentiment the best possible way. The ultimate communication with your audiences. Ever so often during a show, you may catch even the most astute and determined performers taking stock of their work. And, as in the case of this image, express gratitude and satisfaction with reaching yet another level with their fans.”
See previous Pic of the Week features here.