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The Best Photos of the BVI

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SkyVision VI – Artists’ Corner – Chris Norton

Photography by Chris Norton

Photography in the BVI is reaching new heights – literally. Chris Norton and his company Sky Vision VI are bringing an artistic edge to photography, that is only possible with the combination of his unique ingenuity and the beautiful perspectives that the BVI bestows.

Engaging in multiple distinctions in this art form, self-taught photographer Norton presents Nature, Macro (extreme close-up), Underwater, Urban, Landscape, and Still Life photography with an approach that is gaining recognition with furious momentum.

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Aspiring to raise the life out of every photo or video he creates while evoking profound emotion and connection in the recipients, his distinct signature has already begun to emerge in several mediums.

“When you’re passionate about the art, it’s not hard to spend hundreds of hours researching or taking different shots and making tiny adjustments to get that one perfect image,” said Norton in reference to his training.

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Supported by his family and friends, he was enthused to pursue his dream of photography that commenced at an early age.

“It’s hard to say how long I have been a professional photographer,” he said, commenting on the origins of his appetite to create stunning visuals. “My grandfather practically had an inbuilt light metre behind his eyes and, after framing his scene, could tell you the exact aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance settings for the perfect shot without any of the tools available today. His photos sparked my passion for photography and inspired me at a very early age…”

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With such a closely related source of inspiration, Chris took to the craft of photography at the age of nine. He estimates that he reached professional levels by age 18 via underwater tours he did for the yacht he worked for at the time.

Coming to the BVI from South Africa over 20 years ago, Chris became no stranger to challenges in order to reach his goals: “[I came to live] aboard a 32ft sailboat with my parents and older brother. After a few months, we sailed to St Maarten and learned the meaning of hard work after picking up the pieces (literally) following a devastating hurricane. We returned to the BVI and I went on to become a charter yacht captain and later an assistant hotel manager,” he said, discussing his various trials and tribulations. “I draw on skills gained from these life experiences…be it identifying with a customer’s objective, staying calm in a crisis, rebuilding, or sheer persistence.”

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When videographer Ben Williams came to the BVI to shoot a short video at Frenchmans Cay Resort, his excursion encouraged Norton to see different dynamics to creating videos: “His videos are inspirational to me in the way they always tend to have a story that resonates with viewers on a personal level. I aspire to that.”

Chris explained that SkyVision VI is the BVI’s first media business to put aerial videography at its heart. Before Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—which is what the company utilises—most aerial footage was obtained by helicopters; therefore, this is a novel movement in the BVI.

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“Utilising specialised equipment and cinematic techniques, I strive to produce fresh and captivating content to allow my clients to sell and promote their own businesses,” he said, explaining his style. “A lot of my work has a cinematic feel to add drama and grab attention. I use a multitude of…tools to get the precise shot or the right feel for a film including sliders, dollies, glide-cams and UAV’s.”

Recently creating an aerial film of the BVI entitled The British Virgin Islands – Nature’s Little Secrets, which demonstrates his aptitude for videography, he generated over 27,000 views in a matter of days.

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“Both DJI Innovations, who make the UAV I use and GoPro contacted me asking if they could feature it on their websites,” he said in relation to the best moment in his career so far. “…the greatest thing was reading people’s comments and hearing how my short film had shown them a whole new perspective on the BVI – even for people who had spent their whole life here. It inspired new people to visit, but also reminded existing inhabitants of the BVI’s awe-inspiring beauty and the need to preserve it. That was very powerful.”

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Looking to the future, Norton is optimistic of illustrating the veritable epic beauty of the Territory and transporting that profound mood to viewers across the world via videography. “At the moment, I’m focusing on growing SkyVision VI and…collaborating with the talent of aLookingGlass has been amazing for me…I’m excited to be a part of their creative team.”

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Concluding, Norton said: “It’s hard to say where this exciting career will take me. I hope one day to offer my services on a more international scale, whilst still keeping the BVI as my base and home.”

See Chris’s video entitled “The British Virgin Islands – Nature’s Little Secrets” here

The British Virgin Islands. “Nature’s little secrets” from Chris Norton on Vimeo.

Erin Paviour-Smith

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