Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Melissa Alcena



Melissa Alcena is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Nassau, Bahamas.







About the photographer in 2 quotes from recent interview

Do you have a particular technique to connect with your subjects?

M. Conversations while shooting. It helps me get a better sense of what a person is like and how I’d like to portray them. It also helps to create a connection between the person and I for positive synergy. I fully believe that whatever energy you bring to a ‘set’ is going to be received by whomever your photographing, and that it will be translated in the photo. It’s a collaboration between the model and I and we’re playing off of each other to get the best shots. And more often that not, conversations open up opportunities for me to capture people in fully authentic moments which can end up being pretty beautiful.



Do you have an artistic “method”?

M. I tend to go with the flow for my documentary work. For shoots I really have to plan, I just try to facilitate an environment for people to express themselves as naturally as possible. Although I can direct people, when it comes to portrait sessions I enjoy more of a documentary approach in a controlled environment. I haven’t been photographing professional models frequently, so it’s important for me to make people who aren’t feel comfortable enough so they can be themselves, so that I can capture them as authentically as possible. (quotes from interview on website Cacique, March 2019)(copyright: the photographer)