All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza

Nieves Mingueza

Country: Spain

Nieves Mingueza is a lens-based, mixed media artist working with experimental photography, collage and text. Born in Spain, based in London. The often-cinematic themes in her projects have in common her fascination with old books, film stills, vintage cameras, poetry and minimal drawings. Ultimately, Nieves' work is about the foggy relationship between fiction and reality. In addition, she is currently exploring about immigration, mental health and human conflicts.

Nieves' work has been exhibited widely, including Copeland Gallery -Peckham 24-, Les rencontres de la photographie Arles, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Retina Scottish International Photography Festival, The Royal Academy of Arts, PhotoEspaña, Saatchi Gallery and Tate Britain. Publications that have featured her work include Editorial 8mm, Fisheye magazine, Der Greif magazine, Low Light Magazine, Shots magazine, Eyemazing, Sarmad Magazine, YET Magazine and L'oeil de la photographie, among others. Lens Culture also featured a selection of her works.

Recently, in July 2019, her first monograph book was released by IIKKI Books Editorial.

All about The malady of Suzanne by Nieves Mingueza

A few months ago, I moved to my new flat in South London. Once settled in my new home, I realised that the building had previously been a mental health hospital. In this hospital, people with mental health issues were treated and helped to reintegrate into society.

One night, I was relaxing, reading in my living room. There was a sepulchral silence, and suddenly I heard a noise coming from the ceiling. I was scared and I noticed that there was a small loft. The next day, a neighbour helped me open the loft. Unexpectedly, we found a suitcase that contained photos, letters and documents that had belonged to a woman named Suzanne.

Reading her letters, I learned that she was a Vietnamese woman who had been a teacher in her home country. There, she fell in love with an Englishman, and finally they decided to move to London together. This happened in 70s. Apparently she began to experience signs of a rare disease: loss of speech and isolation behaviour.

I also found out from her documents that she had changed her name in London, because her real name was very difficult to pronounce for English people. She called herself Suzanne in honour of Leonard Cohen's song.

By combining found archives with my documentary photography work, I am exploring the story of a Vietnamese female with mental issues in 70's London. This is an on-going project about the complex relationship between memory, immigration, mental health and human conflicts.

Additionally, is there any reciprocation between Suzanne and myself? We have both lived in the same space. I am an immigrant in London, I work in a school, and I have modified my name because it was difficult for my students to pronounce. I also love silence.
 

Nieves Mingueza's Video

Selected Book

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Be Featured in our April 2021 Online Juried Solo Exhibition!
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

William Wegman
United States
1943
William Wegman is an artist best known for creating series of compositions involving dogs, primarily his own Weimaraners in various costumes and poses. Wegman reportedly originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967. While teaching at California State University, Long Beach, he acquired the first and most famous of the dogs he photographed, a Weimaraner he named Man Ray (after the artist and photographer). Man Ray later became so popular that the Village Voice named him "Man of the Year" in 1982. He named a subsequent dog Fay Ray (a play on the name of actress Fay Wray). On January 29, 1992, Wegman appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and showed a video clip of Dog Duet, a short which he made in 1975 featuring Man Ray and another dog slowly and mysteriously peering around. Wegman explained that he had created the video by moving a tennis ball around, off-camera, thus capturing the dogs' attention. The same year, he did 3 network ID's for Nickelodeon starring the dogs on pedestals. William Wegman was artist-in-residence at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in spring 2007 where his work featured on campus in the Addison Gallery of American Art. Wegman has also been an artist in residence at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts where his Circus series was created with the College's 20x24 inch Polaroid camera. He received the College's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987. William Wegman made his appearance on Animal Planet's "Dogs 101".(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
Lori Pond
United States
1959
Lori Pond is an artist using the photographic process to explore the human condition as seen through the conflict of good vs. evil, contemporary anxiety and the impermanence of all things. She received a B.S. in Music Performance and Spanish from Indiana University and an M.A. in Broadcast Journalism from USC before embarking on a career in television, where she is a graphic artist at Conan O'Brien's talk show, "Conan." She splits her time between this and her fine art photography. Her work has been included in numerous solo shows at institutions such as: The Griffin Museum of Photography, (Boston) Oceanside Museum of Art, University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and Gallery 825 in Los Angeles. Lori has exhibited in over 30 group shows around the globe. Lori's body of work, "Bosch Redux," has been featured in online publications and interviews, such as: Beta Developments in Photography, Adobe Create, LENSCRATCH, Peripheral Vision Arts Salon and Your Daily Photograph. Hard copy publications of her photography have appeared in The Sun Magazine, Seeing in Sixes, Arboreal, Bosch Redux and Self. Lori's art can be found in the permanent collections of : The Center for Fine Art Photography, Morgan Stanley headquarters and The Center for the Arts, Los Angeles. She lives and works in Los Angeles. All about Menace Menace When danger flares, what do you do? Since humans first experienced the fight or flight reflex, the subconscious brain has told us what, when, and whom to fear. This remains so. When faced with peril, our bodies respond with intensified adrenaline and racing heart beats. Survival depends on our instantaneous emotional response instructing us to run or stay, a millisecond before our rational self can decide. While our brains have not changed, what we fear has. It is rarely a carnivorous beast that triggers our instinct to run. It is pictures of burning skyscrapers, reports of schoolchildren crouching behind desks to hide from bullets, or a gathering of teens in hoodies that make us tremble: Our 21st Century litany of what to fear. But are these threats real? My series "Menace" challenges us to question what we "know." "Menace" confronts us with frightening, darkened, wild animals that trigger the ancient instinct, while our rational mind knows we are in a safe, civilized space, viewing images. We look longer, closer, and realize the threat was never there: these are taxidermied animals, their images captured in bright sunlit shops, manipulated later by the artist to ferocity. They frighten, but are impotent. Menace asks us to consider if our modern fears are justified, or if our contemporary bogeymen are figments of our imagination, mere empty threats manipulated by an unseen hand.
Tatiana Bormatova
Tatiana Bornatova is a documentary photographer from Moscow, now is based in Sevastopol. She currently engaged in personal projects in Russia. Her work focuses on topics devoted to social problems and phenomena of modern Russian society. She studied documentary photography and photojournalism at the School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc (St. Peterburg, Russia). Continues to study in the direction of post-documentary photography. Her projects were published in the REGNUM News Agenсу, IZ Magazine, FLIP Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, Dodho Magazine. Tatiana became a participant in the projection festival Nuits Photographiques d’Essaouira (Essaouira, Morocco) and World Biennial Of Student Photography (Novi Sad, Serbia). Underground In ancient underground quarries, all is in full swing by day and night. Both adventurers and serious researchers - speleologists and spelestologists - come here. Speleology is the study of naturally - occurring caves, and spelestology is the study of underground cavities not used for intended purposes. In the fourteenth century, in Outer Moscow people began mining stone underground using closed methods. It lasted until the nineteenth century. Under Stalin, entrance to the underground was strictly forbidden, but this did not stop people going on adventures. In the 1960s, the masses started to venture into the underground. Then they started to blow up the entrances to caves. Access to the underground became much more difficult, but the interest for anthropogenic underground caves did not cease to exist. Starting in the 1980s, spelestologists and enthusiasts again started to look for underground caverns, previously forbidden in Soviet times. The analysis of old rubble, digging up and exploring passages, and topographic surveys all require staying underground for several days at a time. In the caves specialists would start to allocate grottos for toilets, sleeping, eating and collecting water, as well as strengthening areas that were prone to collapsing. The walls were covered with drawings, inscriptions, artefacts and graffiti. These new traditions and rules resulted in the formation of new subcultures. Visiting caves now is very entertaining. More and more often, they are being visited by thrill seekers, people who like to drink, unofficial excursion groups, and bloggers. Often people go underground without knowing basic safety precautions. That said, the risks in underground caves are not few: one could get lost or end up in a rock collapse. Spelestologists think negatively of amateurs who try to prevent filming and unofficial tours. A few of the researchers carry out excavations and study the underground caverns, but the increase in popularity is starting to disturb their work. They try to keep the whereabouts of newly discovered caves secret. The photographs in this project were taken in the Moscow Oblast, in the Syankovsk and Novlensk caves, and also in the Kamkinsk quarry, more well-known as Kiseli.
Robert Farber
United States
1944
Robert Farber’s style has influenced generations of photographers. His painterly, impressionistic style captures the essence of composition in every genre, including nudes, still life, landscapes and architecture. His ten photo art books have sold over half a million copies. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis brought Farber into Doubleday for the publication of his book “By The Sea,” which won the Art Director’s Award for color photography. Aside from numerous creative awards, Robert Farber also received the Photographer of the Year from PMA (Photographic Manufacturers Association), ASP International Award from the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) and The American Society of Photographers. This award was given to those who’ve made a significant contribution to the science and art of photography. Some previous recipients of this award include Dr. Edwin Land (inventor of the Polaroid), George Hurrell, and National Geographic. Farber’s work with nudes in fine art as well as in the commercial realm is known and respected. He has lectured for Ogilvy & Mather on the “Nude in Advertising.” ASMP requested to use Farber’s nudes as an examples of the artistic application in support of the National Endowment of Arts, after its backing of the controversial Mapplethorpe/Serrano exhibit. His book, “Farber Nudes,” was also included the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate collection. Farber’s fine-art photographs have been published in virtually every form. Farber has exhibited in galleries and museums world-wide. He’s lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, The George Eastman House, as well as Universities and professional groups throughout the United States, Japan, Australia and Europe. Aside from his fine art photography, Robert Farber’s work encompasses major campaigns for fashion, beauty and advertising, as well as directing for TV and film. A documentary highlighting Farber’s life and career, is in development for PBS.Source: www.farber.com Robert Farber has become renown for his depictions of the female form, although his painterly, impressionistic photographic style captures the essence of composition in many genres. Farber’s unique compositions allow the viewer to see the subject from a different perspective and in his words, “to evoke a feeling of romance. That the viewer wants to be there, be a part of it, get lost in it, whether it is a still life or landscape.” A pioneer in many ways, Robert Farber has been a leading force in the world of photography, particularly in his treatment of the subject of the nude. His work has paved the way for the female form to be shown in fine art, publishing, and advertising in a way that he describes only as “respectfully.” Delighting the viewer with his natural approach and fully embracing the female form with a fine art approach, Farber began introducing nudes in his advertising work in the 1970s. He brings the romance depicted in his fine art photographs to his renowned commercial work that has been celebrated over for their captivatingly composed settings. Robert Farber is a New York City native whose artistic career began with art shows in 1970 just after college. At the start of his career, his most moving memory was when he was forced to leave an art show since photography was not widely accepted as an art form at that time. Persisting with his passion, he was eventually discovered at an Upper East Side art show. Both a publishing company and an advertising agency approached him, allowing his fine art career and fashion photography career to take off simultaneously. Farber also brings his romantic style to landscapes through his Americana series. By forcing the viewer to look at the images in a different way the artist hopes to show the heart and soul of America; a perspective he also applies to his New York Series. He hopes that his unique take on composition and style allow the viewer to experience the excitement, nostalgia, the grit and the elegance of the city. Aside from numerous other creative awards, Robert Farber has received the distinctive Photographer of the Year award from the Photographic Manufacturers Association. He has also received the ASP International Award from the Professional Photographers of America and The American Society of Photographers. Farber has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, The George Eastman House, as well as universities and professional groups throughout the United States, Japan, Australia and Europe. Jackie Kennedy Onassis recruited Farber during her time working for the publisher Doubleday that resulted in the publication of his notable book By the Sea which would be the first of many others. Recently, Canon presented Farber's work in a solo exhibition at Art Miami in 2013, while a documentary highlighting the artist is currently in development for PBS and will air in September of 2014 chronicling this artist’s amazingly elegant work over the past four decades.Source: Holden Luntz Gallery
Edward Steichen
United States
1879 | † 1973
Edward Steichen (1879 - 1973) was born in Luxembourg, but immigrated to the United States, to Milwaukee, in 1880. In 1894, Steichen began a four-year lithography apprenticeship with the American Fine Art Company of Milwaukee. After hours, he would sketch and draw, and began to teach himself to paint. Having come across a camera shop near to his work, he bought his first camera, a secondhand Kodak box "detective" camera, in 1895. In 1900, as Steichen headed to Paris to study painting, he stopped in New York. By that time he was an aspiring painter and an accomplished photographer in the soft-focus, Pictorial style and he made a pilgrimage to the Camera Club of New York to show his work to Alfred Stieglitz, the leading tastemaker in American photography. Stieglitz, vice-president of the Camera Club and editor of its journal Camera Notes, was impressed by the young artist from Milwaukee and bought three of his photographs-a self-portrait and two moody, atmospheric woodland scenes printed in platinum-for the impressive sum of five dollars each. Elated, Steichen then boarded the ship for Europe. Once in France, Steichen quickly abandoned his painting studies and began to focus his energies on photography. He learned the technical intricacies of the gum bichromate process, popular among the members of the Photo-Club de Paris, and developed a reputation as a portraitist of noted artists, writers, and members of society. Arriving back in New York in 1902, Steichen rented a studio on the top floor of a brownstone at 291 Fifth Avenue and hung out his shingle; his work as a professional portrait photographer flourished. That same year, Stieglitz announced the formation of the Photo-Secession-the name he gave to the loose-knit group of photographers he exhibited, published, and promoted during the next decade and a half-and the publication of a new, still more lavish journal, Camera Work. Over the fifteen-year, fifty-issue run of Camera Work, no other artist would be featured as prominently as Steichen, who had sixty-five photographs and three paintings reproduced in fifteen issues, including a "Special Steichen Supplement" in April 1906 and an all-Steichen double issue in 1913. In 1906, Steichen determined "to get away from the lucrative but stultifying professional portrait business" and return to France with his family in hopes of resuscitating his idled painting career. It was a move with numerous consequences. For one, it positioned him to embrace the Autochrome, the process for making glass-plate color transparencies introduced by the Lumière brothers in 1907. Steichen-who had experimented with various methods such as gum bichromate to introduce color into his photographs-was enthralled by the technique. Steichen also made what he called his "first attempt at serious documentary reportage" in the summer of 1907, using a borrowed hand camera. Steichen returned to the U.S. in 1914. Serving in the US Army in World War I (and the US Navy in the Second World War), Steichen commanded significant units contributing to military photography. After World War I, during which he commanded the photographic division of the American Expeditionary Forces, he reverted to straight photography, gradually moving into editorial and fashion photography. His portraits of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson, and other celebrities appeared in Vogue and Vanity Fair in the 1920s and 1930s. From 1947-1962, Steichen served as the Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art.. Among other accomplishments, Steichen is appreciated for creating the 1955 exhibition, The Family of Man, at the Museum of Modern Art consisting of over 500 photographs. Steichen purchased a farm that he called Umpawaug in 1928, just outside West Redding, Connecticut, and lived there until his death. Source: Howard Greenberg Gallery
Thierry Cohen
France
1963
Thierry Cohen was born in Paris in 1963. He began his professional career in 1985 and is seen as one of the pioneers of digital photography. His work has been shown at the Palais de Tokyo, and the Musee de l”Homme in Paris, and in 2008 was an official selection of the Mois de la Photo. Since 2010 he has devoted himself to a single project – “Villes Enteintes” (Darkened Cities) – which depicts the major cities of the world as they would appear at night without light pollution, or in more poetic terms: how they would look if we could see the stars. Cohen’s method is original and precise and harkens back to the methodologies employed by early 19th century photographers like Gustave Le Grey. He photographs the world’s major cities, seeking out views that resonate for him and noting the precise time, angle, and latitude and longitude of his exposure. As the world rotates around its axis the stars that would have been visible above a particular city move to deserts, plains, and other places free of light pollution. By noting the precise latitude and angle of his cityscape, Cohen is able to track the earth’s rotation to places of atmospheric clarity like the Mojave, the Sahara, and the Atacama desert. There he sets up his camera to record what is lost to modern urban dwellers. Compositing the two images, Cohen creates a single new image full of resonance and nuance. The work is both political and spiritual questioning not only what we are doing to the planet but drawing unexpected connections between disparate locations. Equally importantly it asks: what do we miss by obscuring the visibility of stars? As the world's population becomes increasingly urban, there is a disjunction with the natural world which both Cohen and science posit causes both physical and psychological harm. Cities that never sleep are made up of millions of individuals breaking natural cycles of work and repose. Cohen’s photographs attempt to restore our vision, and in beautifully crafted prints and images offer the viewer a possibility - to re-connect us to the infinite energy of the stars.Source: Danziger Gallery
Ragnar Axelsson
Iceland
1958
For over 40 years, Ragnar Axelsson, Rax, has been photographing the people, animals, and landscape of the most remote regions of the Arctic, including Iceland, Siberia, and Greenland. In stark black-and-white images, he captures the elemental, human experience of nature at the edge of the liveable world, making visible the extraordinary relationships between the people of the Arctic and their extreme environment – relationships now being altered in profound and complex ways by the unprecedented changes in climate. A photojournalist at Morgunbladid since 1976, Ragnar has also worked on free-lance assignment in Latvia, Lithuania, Mozambique, South Africa, China, and Ukraine. His photographs have been featured in LIFE, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, National Geographic, Time, and Polka, and have been exhibited widely. Ragnar has published 7 books in various international editions. His most recent, Jökull (Glacier) was published in 2018, with a foreword by Olafur Eliasson. Andlit Nordursins (The Face of The North), was published in 2016, with a foreword by Mary Ellen Mark, and won the 2016 Icelandic Literary Prize for non-fiction. Other awards for Ragnar's work include numerous Icelandic Photojournalist Awards; The Leica Oskar Barnack Award (Honorable Mention); The Grand Prize, Photo de Mer, Vannes; and Iceland's highest honor, the Order of the Falcon, Knight's Cross. Ragnar is currently working on a 3-year project documenting people's lives in all 8 countries of the Arctic. At this pivotal time, as climate change irrevocably disrupts the physical and traditional realities of their world, Ragnar is bearing witness to the immediate and direct threat global warming poses to their survival.
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...
Advertisement
POTW
AAP Solo Exhibition
CPA Artist Grant

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with Paul Brouns
Paul Brouns is a Dutch photographer who found his voice by capturing architecture. The urban landscape is his ideal playground for apprehending rhythm, color and geometrical elements. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 14 "Colors" with his project 'Urban Tapestries'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Réhahn
Referred to as someone who "captures the souls of his models", (Wanderlust Travel Magazine, 2018) Réhahn is more than just a man behind a camera. Behind each click is a story. Whether the photograph shows a child with startling blue eyes, a woman pulling a needle through indigo fabric or a man walking alone down a brightly painted street, these are more than just images to Réhahn. They are the culmination of an experience. The stories of his subjects as well as his passion to learn more about their culture, diversity and changing traditions are what drives Réhahn's work.
Craig Varjabedian: Found Horizons
Craig Varjabedian's photographs of the American West illuminate his profound connection with the region and its people. His finely detailed images shine with an authenticity that reveals the ties between identity, place, and the act of perceiving. For Varjabedian, photography is a receptive process driven by openness to the revelation each subject offers, rather than by the desire to manipulate form or to catalog detail. He achieves this vision by capturing and suspending on film those decisive moments in which the elements and the spirit of a moment come together
Exclusive interview with Jacopo Della Valle
Jacopo Maria Della Valle is an Italian travel photographer who fell in love with photography at young age thanks to the influence of his father. Since then he has travelled to Europe, the USA, Cuba, Morocco and all over Asia. He is the winner of AAP Magazine 12 B&W with his project Bull Jumping. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive interview with Giedo Van der Zwan
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.
Call for Entries
Solo Exhibition
Be Featured in our Apr 2021 Online Juried Solo Exhibition!