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Jeff Brouws
Jeff Brouws
Jeff Brouws

Jeff Brouws

Country: United States
Birth: 1955

Jeff Brouws, born in San Francisco in 1955, is a self-taught artist. Pursuing photography since age 13, where he roamed the railroad and industrial corridors of the South Bay Peninsula, Brouws has compiled a visual survey of America's evolving rural, urban and suburban cultural landscapes. Using single photographs as subtle narratives and compiling typologies to index the nation's character, he revels in the "readymades" found in many of these environments. Influenced by the New Topographic Movement, the artist books of Ed Ruscha (to whom Brouws paid homage with his Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations project in 1992) as well as the writings of cultural geographers like J.B. Jackson, Dolores Hayden, John Stilgoe, Mike Davis and Leo Marx, Brouws has combined anthropological inquiry with a somber aesthetic vision mining the overlooked, the obsolete, and the mundane. Initially engaged with what Walker Evans termed the "historical contemporary" along America's secondary highways beginning in the late 1980s, over the following twenty years Brouws has extended this inquiry into the everyday places occupied by most Americans – the franchised landscapes of strip malls, homogenized housing tracts and fast food chains.

Since moving to the Northeast in the late 1990s, Brouws has also investigated inner city areas, abandoned manufacturing sites, and other commercial ruins found in Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland and Youngstown. His photographs of these discarded spaces—the byproducts of de-industrialization, white flight, disinvestment, and failed urban policy—suggest an underlying disparity throughout a country that purports economic equality and social justice for all.

Alongside his photographic practice, for the past thirty years Brouws has researched and written about the historic and aesthetic development of railroad photography in America, authoring and editing numerous books on the subject including The Call of Trains: Railroad Photographs by Jim Shaughnessy, A Passion for Trains: The Railroad Photography of Richard Steinheimer, and his most recent publication (edited with Wendy Burton) Some Vernacular Railroad Photographs.

In 2013 Brouws (along with co-editors Wendy Burton and Hermann Zschiegner and authors Phil Taylor and Mark Rawlinson) published Various Small Books: Referencing the Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha (MIT Press). This was a multi-year, collaborative project involving ninety artists from around the world. Honoring Ruscha’s seminal books from the 1960s and 70s like Twentysix Gasoline Stations, VSB went on to become the defacto catalog for the Ed Ruscha: Books & Co exhibition staged at the Gagosian Gallery, New York and the Museum Brandhorst in Munich.

Brouws’s photography is represented by The Robert Mann Gallery, The Robert Koch Gallery, The Robert Klein Gallery, and The Craig Krull Gallery. His work is in numerous private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

George Dambier
France
1925 | † 2011
Born in 1925, Georges Dambier first went to work for painter Paul Colin, where he learnt drawing and graphic design. Then he landed a job as assistant to Willy Rizzo, a famous portraitist photographer (Harcourt’s Studio, Paris Match). There, he discovered photography and was taught the fundamentals of this art, especially lighting. Georges Dambier was 20 when the Second World War came to an end, a moment when the social scene in Paris suddenly took off. Nightlife, subdued during the Occupation, exploded. Le Bœuf sur le toit, Le Lido, la Rose Rouge, Le Lorientais, Le Tabou : he frequented cabarets and jazz clubs in Saint Germain des Prés, where famous artists and celebrities organised glittering parties and balls. One night, he managed to take pictures of Rita Hayworth who had come incognito to a famous night club, Le Jimmy’s. He sold the exclusive images to France Dimanche, a daily magazine recently created by Max Corre and Pierre Lazareff, and won himself a job on the magazine as a photo-reporter. In his new post, he was sent to all over the world to cover current events. However, with his predilection for graphic design and aesthetics, his liking for refined mise-en-scene, and at the urging of many friends, such as Capucine, Suzy Parker, Jacques Fath, Bettina, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Barthet, he was lead towards fashion photography. As Georges Dambier built and perfected his craft, he was hired by Helene Lazareff, director of ELLE, the fashion magazine. She encouraged him and gave him his first assignment as a fashion photographer. Georges Dambier did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion pictures, with models standing emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models smiling, laughing and often in action. His models were surrounded by local people in a market place in Marrakech, or in a village in Corsica, or – and above all – in his beloved Paris. Most of all, it was Georges Dambier’s ability to put his subjects at ease (many of them were friends) that helped him create true, intimate and lasting images. With his delicate style, and refined technique, his work revealed a reality of great elegance. As his career blossomed, he became widely known for his ability to capture the essence of feminine chic and glamour in his images. In 1954, Robert Capa asked him to lead a fashion department at the Magnum Photo Agency. Unfortunately, Capa died a few weeks later, while covering the Indochinese war. Meanwhile, Georges Dambier set up his own studio in Paris, Rue de la Bienfaisance. As a freelance photographer, he continued to contribute to ELLE and other magazines: Vogue, Le Jardin des Modes, Marie France…He also collaborated with Françoise Giroud and Christine Collanges at L’Express. Big advertising campaigns (Synergie, Havas, Publicis), and contracts for many brands such as L’Oréal, Carita, Jacques Dessange followed. In addition to his work in advertising, Georges Dambier did portraits for record covers and posters for his great friend, the producer Eddie Barclay and Jacques Canetti. As his reputation grew, so did opportunities to meet and photograph celebrities from different worlds. He captured the faces of the most notable artists of the 60’s: Sacha Distel, Zizi Jeanmaire, Dalida, Jeanne Moreau… His impressive client list included celebrities (Cerdan, Cocteau…), singers (Johnny Hallyday, Sylvie Vartan, Charles Aznavour...), actors (Alain Delon, Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve…) and many others. In 1964, Georges Dambier launched his own project: a magazine for young people, dedicated to culture and fashion: TWENTY. He hired young artists and photographers: Just Jaeckin, Jean Paul Goude, Philippe Labro, Copi, Bosc and many others who would later become famous in their own right. Twenty lasted two eventful years. In 1976, he created the magazine VSD with his old friend Maurice Siegel. Georges Dambier led the artistic side of the magazine and headed the photographic section. VSD was an instant success. In the late eighties, Georges Dambier retired to a quieter life in the countryside. He died in May, 2011. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery
Nadav Kander
Israel
1961
Nadav Kander is a London based photographer, artist and director, internationally renowned for his portraiture and landscapes. His work forms part of the public collection at the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Kander's work is also exhibited in numerous international galleries and museums. Kander was born in tel Aviv, tal aviv. His father flew Boeing 707s for El-Al but when he lost his eye for medical reasons he was unable to carry on flying. His parents decided to start again in South Africa and moved to Johannesburg in 1963. Kander began taking pictures when he was 13 on a Pentax camera and later when drafted into the South African Air Force, worked in a darkroom printing aerial photographs. He moved to London in 1986, where he still resides with his wife Nicole and their three children. Kander's most celebrated images include Diver, Salt Lake, Utah 1997, in which a lone women peers out into the vast lake, and his 2009 portrait of Barack Obama photographed for The New York Times Magazine as a cover feature. Diver, Salt Lake, Utah, 1997 was also the cover image for Kander's Monograph Beauty's Nothing. On 18 January 2009 Nadav Kander had 52 full page colour portraits published in one issue of The New York Times Magazine. These portraits (from a series titled Obama's People) were of the people surrounding President Barack Obama, from Joe Biden (Vice President) to Eugene Kang (Special Assistant to The President). The same issue also included a series of cityscapes of Washington DC also taken by Kander. This is the largest portfolio of work by the same photographer The New York Times Magazine has ever showcased in one single issue. Source: Wikipedia Nadav Kander (b. 1961) lives and works in London. Selected past projects include Yangtze – The Long River, winner of the Prix Pictet award in 2009; Dust, which explored the vestiges of the Cold War through the radioactive ruins of secret cities on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia; Bodies 6 Women, 1 Man; and Obama’s People, an acclaimed 52 portrait series commissioned by the New York Times Magazine. His ongoing series, Dark Line - The Thames Estuary, is a personal reflection on the landscape of the River Thames at its point of connection with the sea, through atmospheric images of its slow-moving dark waters and seemingly infinite horizons. Kander’s work is housed in several public collections including National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA; Marta Herford Museum, Germany; Sheldon Museum, Lincoln, USA; The Frank-Suss Collection, London, New York and Hong Kong; and Statoil Collection, Norway. He has exhibited internationally at venues including Weserburg Museum, Germany; Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, USA; Museum of Applied Arts, Cologne, Germany; The Barbican Centre, London, UK; The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK; Somerset House, London, UK; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; and Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel. Recent fellowships and awards include an Honorary Fellowship Award from the Royal Photographic society. Source: Flowers Gallery "I hated school with dedication. A shame, but true. I wasn’t hugging and saying tearful goodbyes on the final day. I just left and I have never returned. Having a very bad accident on my motorbike that I had had since I was 15 (a Triumph 650 Tiger), was a hinge event. Prior to this I had been a practising hard man and going nowhere. Working on the machines during the day and riding in groups at night was my life. After the accident when I was 17, I never rode again and my focus shifted back to photography. South Africa forced its white male citizens to partake in National Service, and I somehow ensured I was drafted into the Air force and then into a darkroom where I printed aerial pictures for two years. It was here that I became certain I wanted to become a lens based artist. A Photographer back then. I met Nicole Verity at about this time. The day after I cleared out of the Air force I started working for Harry De Zitter, and a few months later, soon after my 21st birthday, I left for England. At the end of 1985 I was back in South Africa and met up with Nicole again. She joined me in England in 1986. We squatted in a block of flats two streets away from where we later bought a house. We married in the wilds of Africa in 1991." -- Nadav Kander Source: www.nadavkander.com
Marco Sanges
Italian
1970
SANGES is an imaginative and innovative photographer who has exhibited worldwide and published extensively. Clients and art projects include: Agent Provocateur, Cutler & Gross, Vogue, National Opera Munich,Dolce & Gabbana National Opera Stuttgart, Dario Argento, Stash Klossowski de Rola and Gunther Von Hagens' Body World. Academy of Art New York. Magazines include: Sunday Telegraph, Silver Shotz, Photo, All About Photos, Musee, Katalog, Lomography, Normal, Elle, Esquire, The Times, Independent, Fault , Aesthetica , Shoot, Harpers Bazar, L’œil De la Photographie. Wonderland Some of his short films include : Sugar, Meet me in Winter, Circumstances, Music Sound Machine, Sonnambula, Wunderkamera. His books include : Circumstances, Venus, Wild, and Erotic Photography, Love Lust Desire, Dolce & Gabbana Animal, National Opera Munich, The Cutting Room. Mefistofele Opera Stuttgart by Arrigo Boito. A multi-disciplinary artist, his film 'Circumstances' won Best Art Film at the Portobello Film Festival in London and Best Experimental Film at the Open Cinema Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia. Sanges' work is exhibited in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts permanent collection and at the Center for Creative Photography in Arizona - USA His distinctive photographs have been shown at major contemporary photography festivals including Helsinki Photo Festival and Batumi PhotoDays in Georgia and the Lodz Photofestiwal in Poland. One of his latest project 'Wunderkamera' has been exhibited at the Hospital Club in London and at the Chateau de Dampierre (France) and will be exhibited in the Gallerie de Buci in Paris February 2020.
Angela Bacon-Kidwell
Angela Bacon-Kidwell is an award winning photographer and visual artist that lives and works in Texas. Angela has a BFA from Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas, with specialization in painting and photography. Her work emerges from her journey of recovering a sense of self, strength and spirituality through an examination of her identities as daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother and artist. Her photographic work has received numerous awards and honors and has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Recent awards and recognition’s include: nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography in 2011, Finalist for the John Clarence Laughlin Award, First place in the Palm Springs Photo Festival, First Place in the Texas Photographic Society International Competition and 2012 lecture at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.She is currently represented by Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, Texas, Wallspace Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA and Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NYHome by Nightfall (2012-2014)Silence ceased for him in 2011 not a whisper, but a relentless roaring thunder molding his spirit into mourning In his misery, a new vaporous malice was brewing the ringing was a warning tinnitus and cancer were converging Every known eradication was pursued He and I, separated by many miles, shared a need for solitude cultivated by lucid country drives We drove separately through the dark districts of our minds invariably contemplating what was to come, a symbiotic transitory landscape emerged and the thunder soared in 2013 Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers Questions, Answers, Questions, Answers all tedious throbbing answers How many miles in a life? What shape is the color grey? When does an echo become whole? During the three years of relentless discord, I created images of these ambiguous queries emoting, sensing, seeking There is a truth in "big" questions with small answers Clarity in the midst of chaos Hope in the face of despair Silence returned for him on May 24, 2014 He was my father.
John Kenny
United Kingdom
In 2006 I developed my style of portrait photography within traditional communities, heavily influenced by the dramatic pictures of chiaroscuro artists. Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which literally means light-dark. Back then, at the very start of my Africa journey, I was buzzing with energy having met people of real magnetism just days into my trip. I was excited by extraordinary people and fascinating cultures and wondered how I could possibly communicate and express these feelings of excitement to friends and family back home.The solution, I imagined, would involve abstracting the remarkable from the not so remarkable: put simply, I felt that the vibrant and intense individuals that I had met in traditional communities would best show their magnetism on camera when they were removed from the (often) dull and dusty backgrounds of their immediate environment. After a few days I started to imagine each of these people in front of me emerging from the nothingness of darkness, with no distractions, hoping that this would provide a real feeling of proximity between the viewer and the person in the picture. I made a conscious decision at that time to leave a more documentary style of environmental portraiture to others. Practicing this new technique in remote African villages in 2006 I had nothing but sunshine and a hut available as a great ‘open studio': so I used these parameters and started experimenting (I've never really liked flash anyway). So it's simply the illumination of natural sunlight, and sun on dry earth, that reaches into the darkness of huts and lights up these remarkable people. Sun and dry earth are the only ingredients required for the lighting in my prints. And of course, you also need to find exceptional people!Falling in love with photography, and the origins of this series:I first fell in love with photography around 2003. I had not been fortunate enough to receive an art or photography education, but I knew back then, when I picked up my first SLR camera, that I had found the perfect way to express myself. Every time I had the camera in my hand I was looking to improve, needing to know what everything and anything looked like once it had been through the photographic process. It was a bit like a mad pursuit of alchemy - throwing everything into the mix to see if any magic came out of the other side. The process of photographic learning is very rarely a simple one, but to me it remains beautiful: discoveries, experimentation and seeing for the first time how a camera distorts and enhances the world.In Africa I seem to have made it my goal to travel through some of the remotest areas of the continent where the reaches of urbanisation and 21st century living are barely detectable. Looking back, this wasn’t my intention when I first arrived there in 2006, but somehow I keep returning to Africa to photograph because I'm fascinated to encounter societies that are able to survive in some of the most arid, isolated and difficult environments that people have settled in. If you haven’t visited these places then the reality of living is not nearly as romantic or idealised as one might imagine. Life takes place against a backdrop of very uncertain resources and enormous hardships, but traditions and hospitality towards outsiders remain intact.I specifically chose to photograph the individuals that you see in these galleries because I had a very real sense of wonder when I met them. Each one of these people had something that attracted me, sometimes a piercing intensity, or an uncommon beauty, that I felt compelled to try and capture. It’s true that I photograph for myself, first and foremost, but a close second is my desire to show others this magnetism that draws one into the eyes of these fascinating people.I have usually travelled alone or with a guide on these journeys, along the way walking and hopping onto overloaded vehicles of every kind to head to remote settlements. Often the destination is a transient, weekly market where hundreds of vibrant, colourful people assemble somewhat incongruously against a dull, dusty backdrop for a few hours. Later in the day they will all melt away with their animals and traded possessions, until the location is again a patch of bone-dry ground with almost nothing to separate it from the rest of the featureless land that typifies much of the African Sahel. It is fascinating to observe this process play out in almost exactly the same way across countless African countries, many of which are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles across this huge continent’s surface.My favourite tools are sharp prime lenses and cameras that let you capture the tiniest pieces of detail: whilst these details may be insignificant alone, when aggregated I feel they help paint the picture of the environment and how each person adapts to theirs.My favourite series of work remains the Northern Kenya series which involved 6 weeks of intense travelling with my guide, Mo, across remote areas without a vehicle and often without any semblance of an idea how to get to the next tiny settlement. The trip was full of unique encounters in locations that seemed to be famous, to me at least, as places where no transport seemed to be heading. On one particular occasion we came across a lone Moran (warrior) emerge into the dawn light, miles from anywhere. He seemed like a mirage: a vibrant vision in pink cloth and bright colourful jewellery, and more acutely so when set against the hazy yellow monotone of land that he emerged from. Even for Northern Kenya, I thought he seemed to be in a remote, featureless location: devoid of any water, and within an hour it would again be blistering hot. Despite these uncomfortable realities - which clearly weighed more heavily on my mind than his - the warrior seemed confident of his bearings and stopped for a moment to exchange pleasantries with Mo and I. A couple of minutes later, after sharing cigarette with my guide, he purposefully set off walking again, to God knows where. This place that looked barren and foreboding, to me at least, was clearly his home.
Madhur Dhingra
I was born an only child to my parents, in Delhi, into a family torn apart by the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition. Hailing from a affluent background in Pakistan my family was now struggling for survival in the walled city of Delhi totally penniless. Imbedded with deep insecurities and freshly bearing the scars of partition my family was now setting up trade in the walled city dealing in fabric. It is relevant for me to mention this background for these very insecurities I too inherited from my family and they remain with me till date even with the changed times and lifestyle. Things improved gradually financially, with the trade flourishing and much because of the sheer hard work of my grandfather, father& chachas(father's brothers).We settled in Delhi at the start as big joint family. I have grown up hearing tales of how we had started life selling fabric on the pavements of the walled city where we now own several properties. My father could never get over those scars of partition. I too was repeatedly made to realize that ( for better or for worse) even though I was born much later in Delhi. At the age of five I was put to school at St.Xavier's High School, Raj Niwas Marg, Delhi. That period was to become the most memorable part of my life. I remember enjoying that period thoroughly. I was always an above average student with a lot of love for extracurricular activities. In school I would love going hiking, camping, swimming & cycling with the boy scouts. From the very start I was naughty and mischievous and was a regular in getting in and out of trouble. After school I went to the Delhi University and took up English Hons as my subject. But nowhere was it in my mind to take up studies serious. Restless from the start I wanted to travel the world. I now join the Merchant Navy at the age of seventeen ,as a deck cadet leaving college in the first year itself. I loved this new experience and was good at learning navigation. Very soon I was promoted to become the navigating officer. For the first year I never came back home at all. I was fulfilling my desire to see the world thoroughly meeting different types of people and experiencing different kinds of cultures . Once while travelling in the city of Jeddah near Mecca during Ramadan I was amazed to see gold slabs and coins being sold on the pavements of the city. On the loudspeaker I then heard the azaan (prayer call) and to my utter astonishment I saw people leave all this gold unattended and enter the nearby mazjid for prayer. Such was the strictness of the prevailing law of the land that anybody caught stealing would have his hand chopped off. Nobody dared to steal. Now quite a different experience was when my ship first entered Thailand. To my utter surprise I saw hoards of women entering my ship. Their numbers must have been no less than a hundred odd. I was on duty and I objected to their entry and was immediately informed by my senior officer to back off as they were entering with the permission of the captain. These were prostitutes who stayed on my ship till the time it stayed there. Nobody was questioning the morality or the ethics. It was gala time for all officers, crew, and the Captain. This was the way of life for most sailors . One horrific incident I remember was when our Burmese radio officer died on the ship due to a liver problem. As we were still some days away from the next port,his body was put in the deep freezer of the ship, the same place where all vegetables and other eatables were stored. Life was going on as if nothing had happened and everybody was eating and drinking as any other day. In a ship life all relationships and friendships are very temporary and the moment a person gets off the ship all these are left behind and forgotten. My bag of experiences was filling up fast. The restlessness and void was again setting in fast. I was getting bored again after about five years of sailing. The novelty had worn off and my inherent nature and upbringing was not that of a sailor in any way .I finally decided to say quits and joined the family business which was waiting for me to return. My dad was overjoyed at this decision of mine. I had no problem settling into this environment as it just happened to be in my blood. I now decide to get married too. I get married and soon after become a father of two adorable children. My age at that period would have been early twenty or so. Time flew by fast earning bread and butter for my family. Nothing was more important than bringing up the kids properly and with a lot of love, something which I was deprived of badly during my childhood days. But now again the same restlessness and void was setting in. I was in a dilemma, now trying out new ways to end this emptiness . I initially tried my hands at learning sculpture at Triveni Kala Sangam Mandi House, but I soon realized that medium was not meant for me. Destiny seemed to have other plans for me and it was during this period that I was gifted a SLR by someone, a Ricoh 500 as I now try to remember. The camera body had a dial with some numbers and also some numbers on the lens of which I had no clue. There were photography classes also being held in Triveni Kala Sangam and I joined these classes with sculpture classes I was already doing. It was here I met my photography teacher and now a lifelong friend Satyasri Ukil for the first time. The Basic course was about learning the techniques of Black & White photography. Satyasri was a dedicated, honest & straightforward teacher. His likes and dislikes purely dealt with the merits of the image and not with the person who had shot the image. I was learning fast with my association with Satyasri at Triveni where he was teaching then . A few of us guys(now renowned photographers), formed a sort of a team under the guidance of Ukil (as we address Satyasri,till date).We were shooting developing and printing the whole day long. Photography was now no longer a hobby but a frenzy. I soon set up my own darkroom in my house and would develop and print negatives all night long. I now start trekking again now with a new SLR in hand going to high altitudes and to very difficult locales. I remember showing my first serious work to Ukil and found him overjoyed. Soon my ambitions grew and I start shooting product for the advertising agencies. My first breakthrough as I clearly remember had come from the agency 0& M whose creative head then was Benoy Mitra, who was one day present at the colour lab called "MultiColour in Jhandewalan, when my portfolio prints were coming out of the lab. He saw my work and quietly handed over his card asking me to see him in the agency. I was overjoyed. This was breakthrough I needed desperately. I soon started getting assignments from most major agencies. But now I started getting bored again shooting mountains product and off and on some fashion. I still needed to express myself in a different way. I decide to work towards my first solo exhibition and I show my landscapes and mountain work to the management of INDIA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE. After seeing my work they agree to sponsor my show fixing the date to 28th November 1998.It is pertinent to mention here that I had then "only" shown them my beautiful landscapes and mountain TP's as I had nothing more at that time in my kitty. I started a new journey, first shooting Ladakh. I found immense peace and tranquility (acting as a balm for my troubled mind )in the monasteries I visited. The filtrations of light from the windows and doors into the dark interiors of the monasteries were indeed very beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. I would sit inside these monasteries for hours at a stretch calming my taut nerves. The prayer gong would echo inside the main hall and seep deep inside my soul. I have always equated light with God and have believed that the darkness of the human soul will ultimately come alive with the play of Light (God) on it. My next visit was to Banaras. Here I found people visiting the Ghats in very colorful attires. A activity on these ancient Ghats like the Dashashwamedh Ghat would start very early in the morning. People from all over India visit Banaras to perform various religious rituals, right from the birth of a child to the cremation of the dead and also later to perform rites for their safe and comfortable passage after death. The quality of light that I found in Banaras was very warm & golden and I wouldn't hesitate a moment to call it heavenly. Now a special reference to the Manikarnika Ghat " the ghat of the dead" is needed. People from all over India come to Kashi (ancient name of Banaras)to cremate their dead at Manikarnika.It is believed by Hindus that a cremation at Manikarnika Ghat gives the human soul an unhindered passage to heaven. Pyres are being lit here continuously without getting extinguished for the last 3000 years. But it was on this BURNING GHAT that my worst nightmare was to begin. I would visit this ghat daily looking at the activities. It was not very long before I realised that whenever a body of a poor person would come in, it would be cremated in a bizarre manner. It required two mun wood at the least (mun is an Indian measure of weight equivalent to 20 kgs) to cover a human body completely for cremation. But the person accompanying the dead body did not have that much money in his pocket. So only that much wood was purchased in which only the torso could be covered by wood. The legs and head were left hanging out and the pyre lit. The head would get burnt in a horrific manner with the head and feet falling away from the torso partially burnt. Then these torn away parts were picked up and put into the pyre or thrown into the Ganges. This whole sequence was so bizarre that I decided to get it on film and show it to the world. This I did manage to photograph secretly even after a lot of objections and hindrances from the people in charge at Manikarnika. Man really "was" meeting his God in Kashi, though in a very bizarre manner. So much for Kashi, our GATEWAY TO HEAVEN.I have posted only a few of those pictures on this website just to avoid unnecessary disturbance to people's minds. In the meantime the Purn Kumbh was being held at Hardwar. This again has become a very interesting event to relate. I was aghast to see completely naked so called Naga "sadhus" storming the streets of Hardwar. It was here I came to understand from the local inhabitants of Hardwar that this whole show was a complete farce. These so called ascetics only stormed the streets during the Khumb. Neither do they live in the remoteness of the Himalayas leading a renounced life, but on the contrary live in air conditioned lavishly furnished akharas in Hardwar itself. They were a weird sight. ( I have shown some photographs of them in my Black & White section). Here I saw them fight pitched battles with the police before the procession. DOWNRIGHT CRIMINALS TO THE VERY CORE, MOST OF THEM. On the day of the procession I got up early in the morning and positioned myself on roof top of a house near the Niranjani Akhara.This was very early in the morning and I was testing the auto focusing of my telephoto 300mm Canon lens when I saw a group of nagas in the akhara compound. I was taken aback when I saw one Naga fiddling with the genitals of the other Naga, "AND I TOOK THE SHOT".(later to appear on the first page of THE INDIAN EXPRESS). There were hutments built for sadhus by the kumbh authorities across the river bed. I would visit those and sit with some real sanyasis and listen to their discourses and hear them sing bhajans. This was a very nice and peaceful experience. The Kumbh ended and my exhibition date also was drawing near. The IIC Gallery wanted to see the final prints that I had decided to display. Nowhere in my final selection were those beautiful landscapes to be seen. Their place had been taken by naked sadhus with Trishuls and burning ghats & corpses. The Gallery management told me in no uncertain terms that they will not allow the show to go on unless these pictures were withdrawn. My dilemma was that my photo essay "Where Man Meets God'" was a story of a man's passage of life, his wanderings, his search for God. This essay was incomplete without these pictures. I told the management that I will show my work as it is and will not remove any picture from the list. Much courage to take this right stand was coming from Satyasri Ukil who stood by me all this while withstanding this massive ONSLOUGHT . IIC Management banned my exhibition. It was during this period that me and Satyasri Ukil were introduced to Suneet Chopra a reputed Art Critic. He later introduced us to Siddharth Tagore, a gallery owner at Art Consult Hauz Khas Village. Siddharth Tagore offered to hold my preview party at his gallery inviting respected artists like B.C.Sanyal, Jatin Das and many other artists of repute. The preview was a major success with all these stalwarts in their respective art fields giving their nod to my exhibition. Mr.Khushwant Singh the famous and a very respected writer too came up with an article on me in his column "Malice Towards One And All .Now IIC started shifting its stance and a compromise was reached. "That the images will be allowed to display but only facing towards the Gallery wall, whoever who wanted to see them could do so at his own discretion". Almost everybody saw those images.. Many reputed people visited the exhibition, some of them I mention in my TESTIMONIAL column. Eight major newspapers wrote elaborately on this exhibition. There was a TV interview also held by a channel also. The exhibition was a huge success on the whole. I am now planning another exhibition with a different theme and gearing up to hold another show in Milan. Life for me as a photographer continues...
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Giedo van der Zwan is a street photographer, writer and publisher from the Netherlands. He started working on a long-term project 'Pier to Pier' in 2017 and published his book in June 2018. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 8 Street. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive interview with Eli Klein
Eli Klein Gallery has an international reputation as one of the foremost galleries specializing in contemporary Chinese art and continues to advance the careers of its represented artists and hundreds of other Chinese artists with whom it has collaborated. The Gallery has been instrumental in the loan of artworks by Chinese artists to over 100 museum exhibitions throughout the world. It has published 40 books/catalogues and organized more than 75 exhibitions of Chinese contemporary art at our prestigious venues in New York City.
Exclusive interview with Cayetano González
Cayetano González is a talented Spanish photographer and cinematographer who found his calling when his grandfather lend him his Leica. Since then he has directed commercials and shot several covers of major magazines. His work is influenced by the painters he admires like Sorolla, Velázquez, Rembrandt and Delacroix.
Exclusive interview with Mauro De Bettio
Mauro De Bettio is an Italian photographer who lives in Spain. His pictures are a visual story able to highlight unseen or ignored realities. A vital tool that can help bring about social changes. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 11 Travels. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive interview with Stéphane Lavoué
Stéphane Lavoué, is a French portrait photographer born in Mulhouse in 1976. He lives and works between Brittany and Paris. He is the winner of the Niépce Prize 2018. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview With Harvey Stein
Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author and curator based in New York City. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography. Stein is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He was the Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, located in the East Village of Manhattan from 2009 until 2019 when it lost its lease and closed. Stein's photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe, 86 one-person and over 165 group shows to date and has published eight books. We asked him a few questions about his life and work
Exclusive interview with Lisa Tichané
Lisa Tichané is an advertising photographer whose work is entirely focused on babies and young kids. Based in France but travelling internationally for her clients, she is well known for her unique ability to connect with her tiny models and get irresistible images even from the most unpredictable, unwilling subjects. We asked her a dew questions about her life and work:
Exclusive interview with Monica Denevan Winner Of All About Photo Awards 2020
Monica Denevan is the Photographer of the Year, winner of All About Photo Awards 2020 - The Mind's Eye. My co-jurors Elizabeth Avedon, Laurent Baheux, Alex Cammarano, Julia Dean, Ann Jastrab, Juli Lowe and myself were impressed by her work Across the River, Burma that won first place out of thousands of submissions. She also won 1st place for AAP Magazine 4: Shapes. Her ongoing series, "Songs of the River: Portraits from Burma," began in 2000. Since then, she has returned to many of the same small villages in Burma/Myanmar, making intimate photographs of fishermen and their families in the spare and graphic setting of the Irrawaddy River. She travels with a medium format film camera, one lens, and bags of film, working with natural light and making composed images. Once home, she makes photographic prints in her traditional darkroom.
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Solo Exhibition
Win an Online Juried Solo Exhibition in November