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Bahamian photographer Melissa Alcena forges a path of social curiosity

An individual that redefines the way we see and never goes eye for eye, is the luminescent Bahamian photographer Melissa Alcena. Unlike John Cena, you can see all of her work for what it truly is if you navigate here. Much of Alcena’s photography projects encapsulate social curiosity.

This questioning nature has led her to many ends of the Earth through spaces, experiences, and intensely intimate sessions.

bahamian photographer melissa alcena
A young woman poses eloquently with incredibly colorful hair adornments (via Melissa Alcena)

A lens full of race, gender, class and parity

Melissa struggled like many young people do – through desk jobs and passion stagnancy. Initially, she took on jobs that paid the bills but did not fill the intellectual bank.

social curiosity photography
A daughter confides in the comfort of her mother amidst natural essence (via Melissa Alcena)

Finally, she took a leap of faith and picked up a camera. In the humble beginning, Alcena photographed unassuming subjects at her local post office.

Recently, she had an image make it to Vogue Italia. Now, how did the Bahamian photographer fill in the gaps? With persistence, reinvention, and reinvigoration. 

Major sacrifices made to pursue photography dreams

Alcena immersed herself in Cuban culture for a few months. She attended Sheridan College in Ontario, where she would go on to graduate.

Then, she attempted permanent residency in Canada, but after unsuccessful attempts, finally settled in Nassau, Bahamas. Her driving potential arose from casting print advertisements and giving livelihood to the least likely subjects.

social curiosity photography
Young individuals compete on the field and display compatibility off the field (via Melissa Alcena)

Her ability to transform an ordinary citizen into a wondrous work that demands attention remains unheralded. The social curiosity that Alcena’s photography exudes is indicative of an artist that is comfortable and empathetic in their approach.

Flipping the script from ordinary to extraordinary

Melissa’s work nature flows the smoothest when it is uninterrupted and uninhibited. Her presence combines marvelously with a subject as she inspires the utmost level of openness.

Conversations increase collaboration, and an outline, scope, and preface to any project increases the likelihood that the photo shoot will turn out gloriously. 

The way that Melissa culminates elements of vulnerability, definition, re-examination, and serendipity puts her in a class of her own. Her lens steadily rebuilds and reclaims identity by challenging socially dominant constructs.

melissa alcena
A man breaks down his gaze through subversion (via Melissa Alcena)

For instance, her work completely reworks the idea of “the male gaze.” She does so by shattering taboos, utilizing toxic masculinity into positivity, and breaking down male facades or “fronts” put into place as a protection mechanism.

Alcena changes the way we practice looking

It was once said, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” I could not disagree more with this statement as it poses a worldview that exists in two polar opposites. Rather than seeing the world through a black and white lens as in one against the other, it is much more important to view our global stratosphere for what it really is – a multifaceted multiverse.

The world is consistently shapeshifting and evolving into a datasphere. With incoming data moving at hyperspeed – accepted desensitization can be inescapable.

Bahamian photographer Melissa Alcena’s imagery carries purpose, empowerment, and solution. Through adequate and nuanced representation, Melissa puts forth photography that is entirely pure.