Caasi recently shared the results of a genetic ancestry test she had done. It revealed that 87.5% of her ancestry is West African with a significant portion of that being Nigerian lineage. What had me laughing in disbelief, however, was the fact that she’s also 0.6% Scandinavian. Vikings came from the countries Denmark, Sweden, and Norway which together make up what we know as Scandinavia.
This could have been a coincidence or just everything falling into place the way it should have, but I’ve been an avid viewer of Viking television shows over the years, and I was inspired to fuse some simple Viking aesthetics with my usual African-influenced shoots.
In June, Caasi told me she was coming to Jamaica in July for a few days. We have wanted to work together for years, so I pitched the idea to her. I saw it as a great opportunity to work with her and execute my first major film photography project. With that in mind, I contacted Kelly Shane to help me with this project. I expressed to her that I was always fascinated by how Vikings adorned their faces in war paint, and I wanted to use West African Adinkra symbols to beautify her neck and shoulders similar to how Vikings adorned their necks and head with Norse symbols. Both Caasi and Kelly loved the idea, and as such, I decided to prepare everything that was needed to make my vision a reality.
I compiled a series of reference images to help guide the process, as seen below;
For the shoot, I decided I wanted to shoot both BnW and colour film simultaneously, so I had Caasi bring both BnW and Colour film for that purpose. She also brought a chainmail headpiece. In my collection was a lovely red and black African print fabric, and Bazzle provided the lovely backdrops used.
I had an amazing team that helped me to execute this project; Kelly with make-up, Davy with general assistance and Bazzle with lighting. Wade Rhoden chipped in here and there, and in the end, even photographed Caasi and me.
It was an awesome day, even though there were times when I wondered if the rain would cease and allow the sun to shine. However, as the clock struck 4 o’clock, the sun came out in all its glory at the perfect intensity and angle.
-Jik-Reuben Pringle, The Visual Ninja
~Peace, Perfect Peace~