Maria Layacona – Saluting 60 Jamaican Women Pioneers

Maria Layacona

Maria Layacona loved to photograph goats, revivalists and ordinary people going about the business of their daily lives. She was born in 1926 in Ohio (USA) of Italian parents. In 1955 Maria visited Jamaica, fell in love with the country and made it her forever home.

Although she was well known for her work in black and white photography, having trained at the former Winona School of Photography in Indiana USA), she was a founding member of the Colour Photography Club which preceded the current Jamaica Photography Society. Her works, whether in black and white or colour, captivated people everywhere.

Maria’s expertise was not confined to Jamaica, as in her early years in New York, she worked as a photojournalist for the prestigious Life Magazine, travelling the world. Back home, she became the official photographer for the world-acclaimed National Dance Theatre Company Of Jamaica (NDTC). Her books Roots and Rhythms and Dance Jamaica: Renewal and Continuity record the history of the NDTC and the use of Jamaican models in commercial advertising; while Jamaican Portraits and Jamaican Reverie celebrate her love for the beauty of the country’s landscape and people. In 1972, she was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal – by the Institute of Jamaica, in recognition of outstanding achievement in art, science and technology – for her outstanding contribution to the field of photography. Maria LaYacona, Jamaica’s first Lady Of Photography has left an enduring legacy.

Gifted – someone who is talented, brilliant, an expert in his/her life’s work.

Photo – Maria Layacona Facebook

About the author

Gloria Royale-Davis