It was officially launched in December of 2009, but on Monday night, Heavenly Belize, was introduced to the San Pedro community during a book launching held at the Holiday Hotel. Lithuanian author and photographer, Marius Jovaisa, took a little over a year to compile thousands of pictures which were published in his third book which highlights Belize. Through his camera lens, Jovaisa described Belize’s never ending beauty via photographs of the country’s land, water, people, flora and fauna.
A Marketing Manager by profession, Jovaisa stated that he moved into photography books and publishing in 2006 when he first published his book, “Tranquilia: The land of Peace.” After falling in love with aerial photography, in 2008 after nine months of work, Jovaisa published his second project called Unseen Lithuania, a book featuring only aerial pictures of his home country Lithuania. Jovaisa told The Sun that he began thinking of another place in the world to make his third book and explained that his third book, “Heavenly Belize” was born from a visit he made to Belize in August of 2008 on the invitation of his friend Robert Combs of Hawaii. “Combs invited me to see and experience the nice and beautiful country and to experiment with a plane which they flew to the country and was utilized for several purposes,” stated Jovaisa. While in Belize Jovaisa got the opportunity of flying on an ultra-light aircraft called an air-cam which is built especially for videography and photography by the requirement of National Geography. During his first flyover in Belize, organized by the owner of the plane Amin Bedran, Jovaisa stated that he was impressed with the aerial scene and fell in love with Belize. “It all fell into one place: nice, beautiful country; very friendly and warm people; size of the country is not too big; air-cam suitable and perfect for photography, so I decided that my next project will be on Belize,” stated a very excited Jovaisa.
After his first visit to Belize, Jovaisa made over five other work visits and captured thousands of pictures of Belize’s water including lagoons, rivers, dams, islands, atolls, reefs, sea and the impressive and unique Blue Hole; its land which include the mountains, hills, peaks, valleys and various well known areas. Jovaisa also included a section called cities; ancient and modern where he featured Belize’s Mayan Ruins, the cities, towns and various rural areas. The book also details various portraits of the many faces, ethnic groups and people of Belize as well as the flora and fauna that Belize boasts. All the pictures inside the book include a brief description of the content, written with the help of Stuart Krohne of Placenia and Sharon Matola of the Belize Zoo.
But how was the name “Heavenly Belize” born? Jovaisa stated that he wanted the name of the book to compliment the theme that Belize is presenting itself to the world, “Be one with Belize.” “I think that the book is giving some really heavenly perception of Belize. Much of Belize remains pretty much unspoiled when compared to surrounding countries, so Belize is like a heavenly peace in this part of the world,” stated Jovaisa. Ironically Jovaisa explained that the description of Belize as being “heavenly” tracks back to a description given by well known profession of geopolitics Kazy’s Pakspas. According to Jovaisa during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Pakspas made contact with the then Governor of Belize after which he attempted to convince his country people that the only next perfect place for Lithuanians to live would be in “Heavenly Belize.” It was not until after his publication of the book that Jovaisa became aware of such piece of information through the media back in his country. When asked about the challenges to compile his book, Jovaisa explained that it was nature itself. “Nature itself was the biggest challenge. Nature can be unpredictable and can change so quickly. Because I wanted consistency in photographing the scene, most of the pictures were taken at a time when the sun was above the horizon, either at sunrise or sunset,” explained the author.
The book is available at various bookstore and gift shops across the country and orders can be placed online by visiting the website at www.heavenlybelize.com
Javaisa explained that he plans to return and conduct other work in Belize in the future.