While working in law and banking, two of Bermuda’s traditional pursuits, Nhuri Bashir’s main outlet for his photography passion was Instagram. But at age 30, he made a leap of faith and launched a creative services agency with cinematographer Andrew Kirkpatrick.
Bashir now splits his time between producing content for local outlets and tourism campaigns and capturing lifestyle, architecture, and food photography for international clients. He’s also worked as a fixer on shoots for fashion brands and magazines.
Why are fashion brands attracted to Bermuda as a backdrop?
It’s 90 minutes from New York City, and we have an off-season that works out so that they can get shots of beautiful ocean and rocks with fewer crowds and weather that’s still pleasant.
Also, the natural landscape in Bermuda is relatively untouched. Most beaches are public, and yet you don’t have many buildings so to the camera lens it looks like you’re on a pristine island.
Then you have the history—Bermuda’s a very colorful place. People really like to be able to show that pop of color. If you go to the Town of St George, for example, you have buildings that are clustered together in an array of candy colors. On other larger islands, you don’t get that frequency of buildings together as easily.
Ultimately, though, each photographer has a different eye; everyone that I work with sees something different about Bermuda. I’ll take them across the island and let them pick out what they like and fits their aesthetic. They make some stuff look amazing that I wouldn’t have thought was picturesque.
What do you like to photograph in Bermuda?
I really enjoy shooting with 35mm and 120mm film. It’s something most people don’t know about me because it’s not my commercial stuff. But what happens with film is you really have to slow down and pay attention. What I like to do is go around to different neighborhoods and shoot photos of people in their everyday life and go to farms and hyperlocal places to slow down, hang out, and snap photos.
Connecting with people is what inspires me. Bermuda is a melting pot, and there are tons of different ways to live here. I’ll go hang out with a gardener and end up with a completely different perspective on life. It keeps me ticking.
One of my favorite commercial projects was a job for a new hotel, The Loren, during which we explored the farm-to-table and ocean-to-table experience. I went out with two chefs to Wadson’s Farm, and they picked carrots and checked out the pigs and chickens, then we went down to some local fisherman and got the catch right off the boats, and they cooked it up.
What do you think surprises visitors about Bermuda?
The first thing that surprises visitors is when they hear people honking their horns; Bermudians actually use horns to speak to each other, it’s a friendly thing. That’s one cultural etiquette difference.
Then there’s the color of the water, an electric turquoise, even on a cloudy day. The reflection back of the sky is very impressive. Most people I work with say they’ve never seen water that blue, and these are people who travel a lot for photography. Your phone won’t do it justice with a photo.
For me, the spring (April, May) is an amazing time to come to Bermuda because it’s warm, but not hot, and everything is open and immaculately beautiful. It’s easy to get a table, and it’s more romantic than summer, which is more of a party time. I’m a family person with a newborn, so I like to be able to relax in peace.
If you’re not a beach fun-in-the-sun person, winter is great because restaurants host tastings and special restaurant weeks and there are a lot of gallery exhibitions and the weather is still mild. We’re seeing more abstract artistic expression and the art scene is getting better. I go to Masterworks and the Bermuda Society of Arts, where I’ve had my own show.
And what is your ideal Bermuda day?
If I were coming to Bermuda, I’d probably stay in St George’s in the East End because it’s very picturesque. I’d venture to Admiralty and North Shore, which is not sandy, you have lots of rocks that you can climb and jump off and swim. It’s a very local thing to do—you don’t want to get your car messed up with sand!
I think that Bermuda would be a miss if you didn’t get to go out on the water itself. So I’d enlist one of the smaller catamaran companies and go out around 6pm and do something sunset-y. If you don’t see Bermuda by the water, you didn’t really see Bermuda. Its true beauty is looking back from the water toward the island—you really see the topography and lay of the land and the buildings clustered together.