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Sumit Gupta
Sumit Gupta
Sumit Gupta

Sumit Gupta

Country: India
Birth: 1983

While a software engineer by profession, Sumit has been capturing and sharing the stories of cities and cultures since 2013.

He finds the experience of walking around the city streets with a camera almost therapeutic and meditative. Inspired by the human condition, Sumit has photographed mostly in India and Europe.

Sumit's photographs are inspired by a personal desire to find meaning in the world around us and attempt to draw attention to the poetic and inspirational nature of human life all around us.

All about the project 'The River'

The Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering of humans on our planet. Over the two month period that this festival happens, once every 12 years in 4 Indian cities, millions of people come from all over the country (and outside of it) to take an auspicious bath in the holy waters of the river Ganga.

I'm interested in portraying how the contemporary experience of the Kumbh Mela is influenced by aspects such as globalization, consumption and current trends of social behavior. People from all over India come to this event as a pilgrimage to wash away their sins, but they're also cohabiting with people that see this as a cultural attraction, as a possibility to experience a foreign culture and filter it through social media.

What's the impact of hyper-communication and advertising in the collective atmosphere of this spiritual gathering? The project tries to reflect on those ideas by working through the psychological climate of the different people that are present in the event.

The images evidence the paradoxical and complex nature of a spiritual event that feeds on tradition when young people seem to drift away from old collective habits.

The river, the sacred area where people transcend their humanity, is the perfect metaphor for the current situation; affected by mass production and consumerism, the polluted river is still worshipped as a place for cleansing; time will tell if the memory that holds this identity will keep flowing through the divine water, or if it will drown to the mirage of pleasures that float in the immediacy of today's world.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Bharat Patel
United Kingdom
1949
Tod Papageorge
United States
1940
Tod Papageorge is an American photographer whose career began in the New York City street photography movement of the 1960s. He started taking photographs in 1962 as an English literature major at the University of New Hampshire. Between 1979 and 2013 he directed the graduate program in photography at the Yale School of Art, where his students included Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Lois Conner, Abelardo Morell, Susan Lipper, Gregory Crewdson, An-My Le, Anna Gaskell, Steve Giovinco, and Katy Grannan. In 2007, Steidl published Passing through Eden, a collection of photographs Papageorge took over 25 years in Central Park. Also in 2007, Aperture published American Sports, 1970: Or How We Spent the War in Vietnam, containing photographs taken during his 1970 Guggenheim Fellowship.Source: Wikipedia About Passing through Eden Taken between 1969 and 1991, these black and white photographs capture the primeval character of Central Park, a human tragedy and comedy in this particular vision of the garden of Eden. During the 1970s, when Papageorge began to work on this series, Central Park was portrayed as a dangerous place not to be visited after dark. These photographs depict a different view showing innocence, beauty, ugliness, isolation, chaos and humour - the whole scope of human life on view within the park. Papageorge parallels this series with the first four books of Genesis, pulling the disparate images together by presenting the park as a public Eden, his elegy to a lost Elysium. This projected narrative lends the images structure and gravity: the audience can recognise Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel in various guises acting out their elemental roles in our commonplace world. Initially, Papageorge's project was driven less by a fascination with Central Park than by the desire to utilise a particular camera (6 x 9 cm Fujica) that was too cumbersome for the city's streets. He found within the park an intense and palpable realm of bodies, action and objects. Daily photographic excursions alongside Garry Winogrand and Joel Meyerowitz on the streets of New York had honed his abilities to both anticipate and capture great photographic moments within the disorder of the park. Established as an articulate and influential critic and teacher of other's work, Papageorge's own photographs have rarely been in the spotlight. Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Photography at Yale Art School since 1979, he has taught many of the strongest American photographers of the past three decades, including Abelardo Morell, Gregory Crewdson, Anna Gaskell and Katy Grannan. This re-examination of Papageorge's photography has been prompted by the recent reconsideration of work by his peers -- Winogrand by the ICP, Friedlander by the MOMA and Stephen Shore by the ICP.Source: Michael Hoppen Gallery
Li Zhensheng
China
1940
Li Zhensheng (born September 22, 1940) is a Chinese photojournalist who captured some of the most telling images from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, better known as the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His employment at the Heilongjiang Daily, which followed the party line, and his decision to wear a red arm band indicating an alliance with Chairman Mao Zedong, allowed him access to scenes otherwise only described in written and verbal accounts. His recent publication of the book, Red-Color News Soldier exhibits both the revolutionary ideals and, more notably, many of the atrocities that occurred during the Cultural Revolution. The Heilongjiang Daily newspaper had a strict policy in accordance with a government dictate that only "positive" images could be published, which consisted mostly of smiling revolutionaries offering praise for Chairman Mao. The "negative" images, which depicted the atrocities of the time, were hidden beneath a floorboard in his house before he brought them to light at a photo exhibit in 1988. Early life Li Zhensheng was born to a poor family in Dalian, which is located in the northeastern province of Liaoning, China. At the time of his birth this was Kwantung Leased Territory, where Japan maintained the puppet regime, Manchukuo. His mother died when he was three, and his older brother, who was a member of the People's Liberation Army was killed during the Chinese Civil War. Zhensheng helped his father, who was a cook on a steamship and later as a farmer, until Zhensheng was 10-years-old. Zhensheng quickly rose to the top of his class despite starting school late. He later earned a spot at the Changchun Film School, where he acquired much of his photographic knowledge. In 1963, he briefly achieved a job at the Heilongjiang Daily, however the Socialist Education Movement soon intervened and he ended up back in the countryside for nearly two years, living with peasants and studying the works of Chairman Mao. Cultural Revolution Zhensheng returned to Harbin just months before the outbreak of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the spring of 1966. A lack of photographic film, marauding Red Guards, and a political dictate against photographing the negative aspects of the revolution restricted what he was able to portray. He soon realized that only people wearing the red-colored arm band of the Red Guards could photograph without harassment. To achieve this, he founded his own small rebel group at the newspaper. Zhensheng then captured some of the most horrific acts of the Cultural Revolution. His collection includes photos depicting dehumanizing tactics used by the Red Guards to humiliate or degrade alleged counterrevolutionaries. Some of the images depict public displays of "denunciations," where the hair of prominent individuals is shaved. Other images show people bearing "dunce" hats; people with black paint spread over their faces; others wearing signs around their necks with writings that criticize their profession or names. Zhensheng also captured scenes of public executions of counterrevolutionaries who were never given a trial for their alleged crimes. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Zhensheng was once more sent back to the countryside in September 1969. He was sent to the May 7th Cadre School in Liuhe, a labor camp where he and his wife, Zu Yingxia, spent two years performing hard labor. Zhensheng had taken meticulous care of the documented "negative" images he captured while at the newspaper, hiding them beneath a floorboard of his one-room apartment. The dry atmosphere and mild temperatures of Harbin aided the preservation of the photographic negatives. While he was sent away, Zhensheng entrusted a friend to care for the apartment, and instructed him to never reveal the secrets it contained. Zhensheng returned to the newspaper in 1972 as the head of the photography department, and later became a professor at Peking University in 1982. About Red-Color News Soldier Red-Color News Soldier is a literal translation of the Chinese characters written on the armband Li Zhensheng wore during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Although, he says he never gave his alliance to Chairman Mao, wearing the arm band gave him unprecedented access to historic events, which have since shaped Chinese culture. The book covers the period from just before the Cultural Revolution in 1965 to just after in 1976. It is separated into five chronological sections: 1964-1966 titled "It is right to rebel"; 1966 titled "Bombard the Headquarters"; 1966-1968 titled "The Red Sun in our hearts"; 1968-1972 titled "Revolution is not a dinner party"; and 1972-1974 titled "Die Fighting." The veteran China analyst John Gittings was among the reviewers who welcomed Li's book. He noted that Li was a Red Guard as well as a photographer and did not deny that he also led "struggle sessions" against innocent victims; but his pictures reflect a deeper desire to record and understand. Li's book was "unique" for a simple reason: "Although the post-Mao Chinese government has labeled the cultural revolution '10 years of chaos,' it still tries to suppress any real inquiry into the countless human tragedies it caused..." The book, which has not been published in China, took many years to publish. Zhensheng's "negative" pictures (those that depicted the atrocities of the cultural revolution) were first revealed publicly in March 1988 at a Chinese Press Association's photography competition in Beijing. The show, entitled "Let History Tell the Future" consisted of twenty images from his collection, which were deemed "counterrevolutionary. " In December of that year, Zhensheng met Robert Pledge, an American who was director of Contact Press Images, an international photo agency, who had come to Beijing. They agreed to work together on a book of Zhensheng's photos, but to wait until the political climate was right. Seven months later, in June 1989, the brutal events of Tiananmen Square made worldwide headlines, and Zhensheng became determined to produce a book to show the world the images from the Cultural Revolution. Work on the book began in 1999. Since Pledge did not speak Chinese, and Zhensheng did not speak English, the two had to coordinate work through the use of translators — many of whom became integral parts of their relationship. Zhensheng sent over 30,000 brown envelopes to Pledge's office in New York City, each containing photographic negatives. A number of the images are self-portraits of Zhensheng. This was the result of always returning to the paper with one extra frame on the film roll; a photojournalism technique of always being prepared to cover a breaking news event at the last minute. Zhensheng would "burn off" the last image with a photo of himself shortly before developing the film. Often the poses were humorous and playful. One such image of Zhensheng exposing his bare chest was published in the book He said he was attempting to recreate the old expression of "baring one's chest in the face of adversity," or in his case, communism. During book tours Zhensheng makes a point to speak of his love for China. He says while he disagrees with the government, he still loves his country and hopes democracy will perhaps prevail in the long-term future. He does not believe his images or the book should be considered anti-Chinese, rather a reminder of the painful past many countries endure during their evolution.Source: Wikipedia
Robert Doisneau
France
1912 | † 1994
Born in April 1912 in an upper middle class family, in the Parisian suburbs (Gentilly), Robert Doisneau started showing an immoderate interest in the arts at a very early age. Robert Doisneau lost his parents at an early age and was raised by an unloving aunt. Aged 14, he enroled at the Ecole Estienne a craft school where he graduated in 1929 with diplomas in engraving and lithography. A year later, he started working for « Atelier Ullmann » as a publicity photographer. In 1931, Robert Doisneau met his future wife Pierrette Chaumaison, with whom he will have three children and also started working as an assistant for modernist photographer, André Vigneau. André Vigneau will introduce Robert Doisneau to a « new objectivity in Photography ». In 1932, Robert Doisneau sold his first photographic story to Excelsior magazine. In 1934, car manufacturer Renault hired Robert Doisneau as an industrial photographer in the Boulogne Billancourt factory. He was fired in 1939 as he was consistantly late. Without a job, Robert Doisneau became a freelance photographer trying to earn his living in advertising, engraving and in the postcard industry. Shortly before WWII, Robert Doisneau was hired by Charles Rado, founder of the Rapho Agency. His first photographic report on canoeing in Dordogne was abruptly interrupted by the war declaration. Drafted into the French army as soldier and photographer he was relieved from duty in 1940. Until the end of the war, he used his skills to forge passports and identification papers for the French Resistance. After the war, Robert Doisneau became a freelance photographer and rejoined with the Rapho agency (1946). It is probably at this time that mutual influence with Jacques-Henri Lartigue found its origin. He started producing numerous photographic stories on various subjects: Parisian news, popular Paris, foreign countries (USSR, United-States...). Some of his stories will be published in prestigious magazines, LIFE, PARIS MATCH, REALITES... In 1947, Robert Doisneau met Robert Giraud with whom he will have a life long friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Doisneau will publish more than 30 albums such as “La Banlieue de Paris” (The suburbs of Paris, Seghers 1949) with texts written by French Author Blaise Cendrars. From 1948 to 1953, Robert Doisneau also worked for Vogue Magazine as a fashion photographer. It is also at that time that he joined Group XV and participated alongside Rene Jacques, Willy Ronis and Pierre Jahan in promoting photography and its heritage preservation. In 1950, Robert Doisneau created his most recognizable work, le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville for Life magazine. Although Doisneau’s most recognized work dates from the 1950’s and old style magazine interest was declining in Europe in the early 1970’s, Doisneau continued to produce children’s books, advertising photography and celebrity portraits. His talent as a photographer has been rewarded on numerous occasions: Kodak prize 1947 Niepce Prize recipient in 1956 In 1960, he held his first solo exhibition in Chicago (Museum of Modern Art) In 1975 he is the guest of honour of les “Rencontres d’Arles” Grand prix National de la Photographie 1983 Balzac Prize recipient 1986 In 1991, the Royal Photographic Society awarded Robert Doisneau an Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) Robert Doisneau died in 1994, six months after his wife. He is buried alongside her in Raizeux.
Lu Nan
China
1962
Lu Nan is a contemporary photographer who was born in Beijing, China in 1962. After working for National Pictorial for 5 years, he decided to become an independent photographer. From 1989 to 1990, he shot a series of images of the living conditions of patients in Chinese mental hospitals. From 1992 to 1996, he shot a series of images about Catholicism in China. From 1996 to 2004, he shot a series of images of the daily life of Tibetan farmers. Lu Nan is known as "the most legendary photographer in China". He is also the only Chinese contemporary photographer chosen by Aperture magazine as a topic colon. Lu Nan is constantly invited to participate in numerous exhibitions; however, he is extremely selective about the exhibitions he is involved with. Lu also refused to have his portrait taken by others, so it’s very rare to see any photo documentations of him. For fifteen years, Lu has been leading a life that is almost like a monk, spending his time working and studying, as he believes that “good stuff comes out of reticence.” Since 1989, Lu Nan has spent 15 years completing his trilogy of photographic series: The Forgotten People, China's Catholicism and Four Seasons in Tibet. These images have allowed Nan to place himself in the international spotlight. But perhaps more importantly, he became one of the first people who exposed another side of Chinese society; people often considered outcasts. “I just respect them and care about them… They are the same as us,” said Lu as a reminder that all human beings are equal and deserve dignity. His black and white photographs depict people within their own environment by using a rather straight glance, which is yet associated with delicate contrasts and elegant compositions.Source: Wikipedia Correspondent for the prestigious international cooperative Magnum Photos since the 1990s, Lu Nan 呂楠 (born in 1962 in Beijing) is an independent photographer who has been documenting marginalized people in China. His pivotal series started in 1989 with The Forgotten People: The Condition of China’s Psychiatric Patients. Pursing his intentions to document Chinese people from the margins of society, his subsequent series captured members of the Catholic Faith (On The Road: The Catholic Faith in China, 1992-1996), peasants’ life in Tibet (Four Seasons: Everyday Life of Tibetan Peasants, 1996-2004), and prisoner’s conditions (Prisons of North Burma, 2006).Source: photographyofchina.com “In 15 years, not a day went by when I didn’t question my own work,” says Chinese photographer Lu Nan, in an interview included in his new book Trilogy. “That’s why I scrutinize what I was doing by means of reading. This mode of assessing action through thought and assessing thought through action helped me to complete these projects." “The trilogy is concerned with human beings. I hope that by looking into real life, I’ll find something fundamentally and enduringly human.” Lu Nan isn’t well known outside China but this book, his first in English, should change all that. It collects together three projects he shot over 15 years – The Forgotten People, a look at the lives of Chinese psychiatric patients, shot from 1989-1990; On the Road, a look at the lives of Catholics in China, shot from 1992-96; and Four Seasons, a look at the lives of rural Tibetans, shot from 1996-2004. These microcosms are apparently very different and yet, to Lu Nan, they’re intimately interrelated. Inspired by image-makers such as Josef Sudek and Sebastiao Salgado and extremely well-read, Lu Nan says the three projects represent the three states of life – The Forgotten People is about suffering and adversity, On the Road purification, and Four Seasons about a blessed, serene state.Source: British Journal of Photography
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