A Photographer Confronts His World
I have written about Trevor Paglen’s amazing photographic works before, particularly his use of advanced optics to peek into America’s secret military sites. In a post written earlier called Photographing The Unseen Or What Conventional Photojournalism Is Not Telling Us About Ourselves I discussed his work and what it could possibly tell us more conventional photographers about the issues of our times and the subjects we have yet to tackle. Details »
Its been about two weeks since I wrapped up my India project work and returned to my home base in Stockholm. It has not been the easiest of transitions back and I clearly miss my friends, and my experiences in India. I miss India itself, what with all its lovely inconsistencies, inconveniences and incongruity all of which remind me, confirm for me, man’s ability to remain spontaneous, frail, and human. Now back in the overly disciplined, predictable, regimented world of Scandinavia, the contrast could not be higher, and the longing for the return could not be greater. Not that I sit here idealizing India, but during the last nine months of extensive travel and immersion in the country in pursuit of stories for my The Idea Of India project, I developed a greater appreciation for communities, societies and institutions not completely regimented, scheduled, and time-tabled under the demands of a deep and rigid state bureaucracy, driven by the singular value of efficiency and profitable returns, and determined to box its citizens into little compartments with innocuous titles like ‘vacation’, ‘work’, ‘weekends’, ‘time off’, ‘lunch break’, ‘meetings’, ‘going out’ and so on. Details »
The Delhi Photo Festival’s, with its inaugural theme of ‘Affinity’, features a number of works that deal with questions of the personal. The festival contains a number of projects that focus on family, friendships, and individuals exploring personal issues with life and love. And much of the work is fascinating, creative and expressive. The personal and private works add an exciting counter point to some of the other exhibitions which reflect a more socially and public engagement. By and large however the festival has kept its feet firmly in the classic concerns of photojournalism even while exhibiting works that are more individual, and experimental. In this regard, the festival has already distinguished itself from many other such photo festivals happening around the world and is off to a wonderful start. Details »
There is a strong element of disingenuousness about people who claim that they do not understand what this movement is about. It is as if they prefer not to notice that the people are occupying Wall Street itself, and not some random corner of the New York City. Scouring the trees while loosing sight of the forest, the naysayers are retreating back into the numbing, not-so-clear-predictability of their ‘safe’ lives while the very earth is changing under their very feet. Details »
A certain group of self appointed guardians of the faith are up in arms over an animated movie called Sita Sings The Blues in which graphic artist and animator Nina Paley weaves a dark moment of abandonment in her persona life into the story of Sita’s repeated abandonment by Ram, the man she is devoted to and loves absolutely. The protesters, most of whom seem to belong to some sort of modern day Hindu fundamentalist, reformist and revivalist institution – are up in arms about what they believe is an insult to sacred deities and to Hinduism in general. Details »
With each passing year, since that moment on September 11th, 2001, it has become harder and harder for me to participate in any official commemoration of this day. This year once again I find myself repulsed by the ‘festivities’ and ‘fanfare’ that surrounds this event, and the righteousness of the words coming out of the mouths of politicians, pundits, celebrities and citizens. The reasons for my reluctance should be quite obvious to perhaps even the most determinedly nationalist, and the most foolishly patriotic. Maybe not. Details »
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