Joanne Barratt - Photography

Matt Tuohy
By Matt Tuohy
Friday - October 03, 2008


Joanne Barratt - Photography

From taking portraits of families at weddings or walking the beach to braving new photographic frontiers by trying new techniques and styles, Joanne Barratt (above with daughter Jordyn) is a good example of what a professional photographer should be.

To her credit, she had an early start being that her father and brother were both artists who worked with cameras. “I just grew up around those smells (of the dark room) and having a camera in my hand,“she says.“In school I was the yearbook photographer, and I was always the kid with a camera at parties.”

Now, far from her high school yearbook days, Barratt runs Island Style Photography, a studio that specializes in portraiture photography.

The above shot of the Haleiwa Bridge, was shot using the HDR technique. Barratt’s other works are mainly portraits (below)

What makes her portraits stand out are the subjects and their actions.Whether they’re babies splashing through mud, kids with their eyes filled with tears or a couple walking on the beach, each shot helps convey who the person is without using words.

Whether art and photography purists believe this type of photography is art or not, Barratt says it is. “There’s art in creating images capturing who the person is,” she says. “We create a lot of artful images and print on canvas gallery wraps.”

The above shot of the Haleiwa Bridge, was shot using the HDR technique. Barratt’s other works are mainly portraits (below)

She also makes art books, which she composes from photo sessions, and lays them out in a book to tell a story using photos instead of words. She used a baby’s first year as an example.“We follow that baby and do multiple sessions as they grow and change (throughout the year),” she says. “We then lay that out to show how they developed, hit all the different milestones and looked differently each month.”

Aside from portraits, Barratt dabbles in high dynamic range (HDR) photography. This is a complex process in which the photographer takes several images of a subject at different exposures (from over-exposed to under-exposed) and then uploads them to a computer. Using a photo-editing program like Photoshop or Photomatix, the images are layered on top of each other to make one picture. This new picture has more color, contrast and overall impact.

“It’s a new technique. It’s cutting edge and a fun new way to capture an image,” she says. “I think it gives the image more depth, more to mention and interest than a single frame can do.”

The above shot of the Haleiwa Bridge, was shot using the HDR technique. Barratt’s other works are mainly portraits (below)

Barratt’s portraits and HDR images can be seen hanging in Pali Momi hospital, various stores and offices, and on her website


The Boardroom

The idea of a surf shop/art gallery might sound absurd, but what better way to convey the spirit of Hawaii than by combining its most iconic sport with its passion for art? Ask Jackie and Eric Walden of the Chinatown Boardroom on Nuuanu Avenue, because that’s exactly what they’ve done.

The Boardroom specializes in showing surf art and shaping boards, but according to Jackie they’ll show urban art, up and coming artists’ work and, believe it or not, custom surf boards.“My husband sells them and he’s always felt that boards are a work of art,” Jackie explains, mentioning how Eric shapes the boards and gets artists to put their work on them. The boards aren’t just for viewing, but also riding.“We sold two yesterday,” Jackie says. “I mean, you don’t buy a Ferrari and not drive it.”

An inside look at the two walls in the Boardroom, the art wall and the water wall

The shop has two walls to show the works of invited artists in their shop. “We have the art wall, which always has art,” explains Jackie,“and then we have the water wall which has the boards on it.”

Artists who have shown their works at the gallery include surf photographer Clark Little, surf painter Heather Brown and surf artist Yusuki Hanai. All of the artists have strong ties to surfing and emphasize the subject in their works, but surf art and boards aren’t the only things found in the gallery.

Whimsical items from around the world or around the corner can be found in the gallery/shop for sale, like candy wrapper bags, record bags and local jewelry.“We hear it a lot from people - ‘Oh my gosh, we never see this stuff,’ or ‘I come here to find art I wouldn’t normally find anywhere else,’” says Jackie.

Photos courtesy of the Chinatown Boardroom

She also says the Boardroom has a certain feel and style unlike many of the surrounding galleries and shops in the art district.“We’re kind of our own thing in the district,“she says. “It’s like fun art. It’s fun and affordable, and something that other galleries don’t have.”

Currently on display at the Boardroom is local artist Otto’s Killer Red Ants, a collection of mixed media,art made from recycled materials and, most interestingly, edible creations all based on the small insects.

“We always try to do something a little different,“she says,“you always need to keep your eye on Chinatown Boardroom because there’s always something new.”

For more information on the Boardroom, visit, or call 585-7200.

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