St. Anthony of Padua, Church of San Domenico, Cortona
Part 1 : At-the-feet-of-saints
St. Anthony of Padua, Church of San Domenico, Cortona
Part 1 : At-the-feet-of-saints
Ranita Roy is a young photographer who aspires to be a photojournalist. Based in West Bengal, India she is constantly seeking out social issue stories – education, poverty, flood, environment to document. Already having a string of accolades, awards, and publications after her name, she strives to have her most deserved works seen. I asked her a few questions recently, most notably about her black & white projects, which I feel are her strongest and most accomplished. Her work is mature and filled with emotion.
Q. When did you first discover photography and its ability to tell stories?
Since my childhood, I liked the camera. Numerous times I played with my father’s camera. Be as it may, I never thought I wanted to be a photographer or turn out to be extremely enthusiastic about photography. When I was in college, amidst a discouraging time, one day I left my home with a compact camera and began shooting, and I understood that it gave me a certain delight and helped me to overcome that circumstance. From that point onwards, photography turned into a sort of contemplation for me and became part of my life.
Since I started photography, for one year I was trying every genre, but somehow I realized that photographing in the street is challenging and I started to focus on photographing regular people in exaggerated situations that highlighted aspects of who they are. Later, I started to following documentary photographers and their works and found this genre to be a powerful medium to show reality with artistry. Gradually, my interest grew in narrative photography.
Q. What was your very first project?
My very first project was photographing backstage of a drama play. But it was not planned and it happened within a fraction of second’s decision. Reaching the stage to look around, I found that work backstage, behind the scene, was very interesting. I thought the images could also be a story for the performers.
But as a first planned project, I must tell you about Chhordima, my grandmother. Ever since my childhood, I witnessed her pain, sorrow, joy, excitement and enthusiasm. How positively she lived with all sorts of social restrictions. I learn from her.
Q. Who are your influences in art and photography?
It’s very difficult for me to name a single person. There are many people who has influenced me a great deal. It is not only from photography, but also in filmmaking, documentaries, and painters. I am inspired by Satajit Ray, Stanley Kubrick, Ritwik Ghatak, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Vittorio De Sica etc. In photography, I can say, Lynsey Addario, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ron Haviv, Raghu Rai, Kevin Carter, Alex Webb, Raghubir Singh, Ren Hang and many more.
I would like to name Sudipta Chakraborty, my photography mentor, whose continuous support has helped me a lot. I am inspired by his works.
Q. How do you identify a story to pursue?
Actually, I go to search out the burning issues. The issues that need special immediate attention. Firstly, I decide on the story, and then begin gathering research and data on that particular issue. After analysing the data, later I visit the place, do a recce. Then I plan for the shoots. The duration of preparation for the story depends on the subject matter. For the floods, it was planned on ahead of time and I start shooting immediately when it happens. As most of the issues I deal with are on long-term basis, I always get time to prepare for the next level of shooting. For child labour stories, it took a lot of time to cover, as I had to keep in mind the political, administrative and local issues.
Q. How much research do you do before you set out on your projects?
I have already replied in my previous answer. After identifying the story, I first collect data and information from the internet. I also try to search for the reports and news of that story to understand how much has already been covered. The next phase, I generally visit those places a couple of times to understand the scenario and prepare my approach. For stories which need immediate action, I directly visit those places and start shooting at the same time during my recce, to determine what are the major issues there and if possible, I may stay back there or make continuous visits.
Q. You have achieved a great deal in terms of awards and recognition, and also have worked published internationally. How do you reach out to these organizations and what which genre of photography would you like to see yourself getting into further?
Generally, I receive enquiries through the mail from those organizations. They get to know my work from either my website or from the contest pages, where my story or images were published.
I have grown interested in narrative photography and I would like to work as a photojournalist.
Q. I especially like your two black and white series – Upanayanam and Chhordima. They are very intimately photographed portraits with strong visuals, and the images tell the stories very well. These stories are truly unique and deserve more exposure. Why did you use B&W for these?
I could make both series in color but I chose black & white just because I would like to show the varying shades of only two colours, black and white. In Chhordima, as you read the story, the lady crossed many hurdles and restrictions of society in her life. Thus I wanted to contrast positivity & negativity, by using these two ‘shades’. In Upanayanam also I used black and white to show the transformation of a Brahmin boy, from his colourful childhood, he enters into a very strict disciplined life, where he can visualize the future paths of life. The rays indicate the positive ways for him and black & white referred to the very simple, straightforward and strict disciplined life he entered into.
I was in New Zealand recently, attending the Auckland Festival of Photography, by a kind invitation from festival director Julia Durkin. In its 15th year, the festival is well established and featured over 100 gallery exhibitions, international presentations, workshops and portfolio reviews. The festival center is located at Silo Park, where the specially curated thematic ‘Control’ exhibitions were held, literally in two giant disused concrete silos and a metal gantry in the surrounding open space by the water’s edge.
That was where I met Herlinde Koelbel, the respected German photographer known for her lifelong portraits of Angela Merkel and her series ‘Jewish Portraits’. In Auckland, Herlinde was showing her recent project Targets, part of the Control theme, as noted in the program :
“For years Herlinde Koelbl travelled around the world, and in a total of thirty countries, made photographs of the military targets used in the training of soldiers. As icons with which the various armies of the world learn the craft of war, everyone considers himself to be on the right side. In the reality of war, the soldiers themselves are always ultimately the target. For Koelbl, it was thus obvious that exhibited beside the mechanical targets are portraits of the soldiers – for they are the living targets.”
I spent my first morning in Auckland enjoying a delicious brunch with her in a cafe on North Wharf and snapped this portrait. We chatted about her project and discovered she had traveled to many countries, liaising with their militaries and consulates to gain access to their training and practice locations to photograph. Encountering obstacles and being passed from one department to another she nevertheless obtained permission in many of the prominent nations. ‘Targets’ attempt to show the ultimate futility in armed conflicts, the power play and arms race amongst nations. By portraying and comparing methodologies and practice targets used in various militaries, a powerful insight about the ‘art of killing’ and the soldiers trained to do so, only to discover that they are the very targets that the others are being trained to kill.
Photo : Bare tree, Wimbledon Common, 1st March, 2018
Cold Siberian weather, with snow, blizzards and freezing rain gripped the whole of Britain over the last few days, foiling the start of Spring in the official calendar. The UK can hardly cope with a few inches of snow, since extreme weather like this only occurs about once in a few years and only for a few days, at most, a week.
Thinking of a last minute present? Here’s a print you can have before Christmas. It was taken in the summer of 2015, in Nice, France.
I’m about to make a print order for this image, size 20×16 inches (50cm x 40cm), limited edition 10 only, Price $100 plus postage. I’ll be sending orders to Cambodia, Japan and USA, so there’s 7 prints remain in this edition.
Postage : Asia /USA $25.00, Europe $15.00.
Print on Fujifilm Crystal Archive satin or gloss, or Kodak Endura Metallic paper (nice!)
All prints will be signed, editioned and embossed, by me!
Send me a message on email@example.com
“ How can you talk about photography without talking about desire?” Hervé Guibert, L’Image fantôme. Photography expanded its scope to space and in volume in the 1960s (a development which then sped up during the 1970s).
This evolution gives metaphorical proof of the importance that contemporary art has acquired in the development of photography. Approche puts forward the hypothesis-and even bets on the idea that photography has an articulate and autonomous body whose two feet are firmly anchored to the contemporary scene. Moreover, the exploratory dimension of photography (as it has been written during its protohistory) has paved the way for certain contemporary artistic expressions. “
Art is everywhere. Art is nowhere.
I am in Paris for a couple of nights to visit Paris Photo and also meet up with some photographers and gallerists who are exhibiting over the weekend at the satellite shows. One exhibition I was taken to visit was Approche.Paris which was housed in a multi-level building just off Palais Royal, on Rue de Richlieu. The exhibition showcased 14 contemporary photographers/artists with different approaches using the medium of photography and constructed mixed media materials to challenge the often misconstrued legitimacy of photography as a ‘minor artform’.
‘Contemporary art and photography are not mutually exclusive.’
This is one mega-exhibition that involves so many photographers & designers that will be traveling from Tokyo to Paris in 2018. Am honoured to be part of this historic event.
Press Release 01 November 2017
“SHIBUYA – TOKYO CURIOSITY by TOKYO-GA”
DURATION: January 2nd to January 8th, 2018
VENUE: Shibuya Hikarie 8/Cube
Organized by NPO TOKYO-GA
Supported by The 4th ward, Paris. Shibuya ward, TOKYO
Cooperated by TOKYO-GA Supporters Circle
~ Curiosity connects the world ~ Identity・Diversity・Traceability ~
As one of the most dynamic city environments in Asia, Shibuya is at the forefront of new, on-the-edge trends and more particularly, of the emergence of a new Japanese life style. The dynamics of Shibuya have attracted the attention of the Japanese media and institutions. With the support of the city ward, the NPO TOKYO-GA has been charged to produce an exhibition featuring Shibuya’s identity at Shibuya Hikarie in January 2018.
This first exhibition will be the forerunner of what we would like to conceive as a traveling exhibition that presents the identity of Shibuya and the young Japanese generation abroad. Concrete and abstract themes will be featured through photography as a central element combined with mural video projection, virtual reality and art installations.
” I expect Tokyo-GA to communicate the exquisite charm, power, and vibrations of the Tokyo Megalopolis, with its sceneries and urban landscapes, a succession of vertical and horizontal rhythmical symphonies, which no other city in the world can give.”
~ Richard COLLASSE, President, CHANEL.K.K.
TOKYO-GA Participating Photographers
Satoshi ASAKAWA, Jean-Michel BERTS, Navid BARATY, Yukari CHIKURA, Renate D’AGOSTIN, Giuseppe DE FRANCESCO, Michael FEATHER, Stéphanie FRAISSE, Michel FRAPIER, Haruhi FUJII, the GAZE, Emmanuel GUILLARD, Mikio HASUI, Roland HAGENBERG, Tatsuya HIRABAYASHI, Kenji HIRASAWA, Taishi HIROKAWA, Tomoki HIROKAWA, Naoki HONJO, Norihisa HOSAKA, Minoru HOHTSUKI, Rie ISHISHITA, Kimiko ISHIYAMA, Gentaro ISHIZUKA, Keiichi ITO, Ooki JINGU, Bishin JUMONJI, Daisuke KAMIMURA, Chiaki KANO, Junpei KATO, Haruna KAWANISHI, Evarett KENNEDY BROWN, Rei KISHITSU, Eriko KOGA, Yasutaka KOJIMA, Kentaro KUMON, Osamu KURIHARA, Edward LEVINSON, Sebastien LEBEGUE, Steven LEE, Ilse LEENDERS, Tomoaki MAKINO, Yoshiko MATSUNAGA, Chihiro MINATO, Muga MIY AHARA, Mamiko MIYAHARA, Christopher MORRIS, Daido MORIYAMA, Yuki MORITA, Ken-ichi NAGASAKI, Masataka NAKANO, Hiroki NAKASHIMA, Sakiko NOMURA, Katsumi OHMORI, Mitsugu OHNISHI, Ryo OHWADA, Atsushi OKADA, Tsutomu ONO, Yuki ONODERA, Daisuke OOZU, Cesar ORDOÑEZ. Thomas PRIOR, Bruno QUINQUET, Takehito SATO, Tatsuya SHIMOHIRA, Taku SHINDO, Vincent SOULIE, Jeremie SOUTEYRAT, Ichigo SUGAWARA, Masayoshi SUKITA, Takeshi SUMI, Mikiya TAKIMOTO, Saori TAO, Kiyoshi TATSUKAWA, Yukinori TOKORO, Yoshihiko UEDA, Makiko UI, Kikuko USUYAMA, Kazuhiko WASHIO, Kazuki WATANABE, James WHITLOW DELANO, Michael WOLF, Celine WU, Masami YAMAMOTO, Yuki YAMADA(CHAP-TYAPU), Naomi YANAGIMOTO, Hiroshi YODA, Alao YOKOGI, Guenter ZORN
TOKYO-GA 東京画 MISSION STATEMENT
DESCRIBING TOKYO SCAPES BY 100 PHOTOGRAPHERS
In spring 2011, Japan experienced one of the biggest tragedies of its history that will remain in the memory of people for generations. The tremendous earthquake, the enormous tsunami and the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima power plant, all three incidents have damaged heavily the beautiful Japanese landscape and the trust in a safe Japanese nation.
TOKYO-GA, established in April 2011, gathers photographs taken by 100 photographers who have chosen Tokyo as their subject. Through the perspective of these photographers, “TOKYO-GA” wants to promote reflection on the development of the Japanese capital in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster. By looking at the works, the onlooker is invited to ponder over what is beautiful, what is sad, what is important, and to evaluate the possibilities that may lie ahead. The works illustrated show us some aspects of what is essential for Tokyo, something fragile such as an atmosphere, a behaviour or a gesture.
TOKYO-GA invites to share the beat and breath of Tokyo, a city undergoing big changes in this decade, and to witness the presence with sincerity through the eyes of 100 photographers who have each of them identified Tokyo in their own personal way.
Commissioner Founder – TOKYO-GA
c/o KLEE INC TOKYO
8-12-25, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Tokyo Japan Tel: 81-(0)3-5410-1277 Fax: 81-(0)3-5410-1278
Popped by the stunning Wei-Ling Gallery, a Colonial-era shophouse in Brickfields which is currently showing Dr. K Azril Ismail’s collection of 30 hand-crafted plates, all framed and set in dark wood and black backgrounds. This collection includes plates produced during the years Azril spent in the UK researching, studying and photographing, often producing daguerrotypes, tintypes and salt prints, and some, of more recent productions in Malaysia. This is is second solo exhibition.
Bearing in mind the long processes needed, and the single edition plates, there are some stunning still life imagery to behold, but up close, since the plates are merely about 4 x5 inches of smaller and some are gorgeously presented in a folding leather display case.
There is a planned talk on 4 October, details forthcoming.
Highly recommended if not for the curiosity factor.
What : Leather bounded salt prints, ambrotypes, tintypes and daguerreotypes, special interest, vintage processes
Where : WEI-LING GALLERY 8, Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“These pieces are hand-crafted, one of a kind, image-objects, with the lending hands of the great giants of photographic pioneers: Louis Daguerre, William Henry Fox Talbot, and Frederick Scott Archer, alongside with Herschel, Wedgwood, Scheele, Davy, Niépce, and Bayard. The tactile qualities and the idea of presenting an ephemeral experience to his works, all ties in with the artist’s belief that objects created by craftsmen are essential keepsakes.
Thirty Pieces of Silver is Dr. K. Azril Ismail’s second exhibition with the gallery following his seminal ‘Live Animals Inside‘ (2009) which documented the now demolished Pudu Jail. “
12 September ~ 31 October, 2017
I’ll be heading out to the Mt.Rokko Photo Festival in a week’s time. I’m always looking forward to this time, late summer in Japan, and to meet the photographers, and see new faces and new photography. Thank to the Takeki Sugiyama the festival director, once again, for inviting me. I’ll be running a similar workshop to the previous years and it’ll be fun.
Pictures from 2016 workshop, from Mt.Rokko Festival.
I will present a brief slideshow on the historic referencing of portraiture from the daguerreotypes of the early to mid 1800s to the camera obscura, and then to the invention of reproducible film and the negative. We will examine the influences of photography on painters and masters and it’s representational forms.
We will consider the modern practice of portraiture and contemporary styles, and look at the importance of the genre in modern society.
We will review portrait photographs brought by the participants and perform a deconstruction and critique of each other’s works.
In the second session, I will present some of my personal choices of the finalist entries from Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards from 2009 to 2017 including this year’s winning entries.
The workshop practical session follows with staged portrait shoots of participants in the studio or gallery space and outdoors.
Note to participants
Please bring up to 5 portrait prints taken by yourself, or from magazines/online that you wish to review and present. Please bring your camera.
Workshop : Sunday 27 August, 2017, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Event Page & More Info
The G20 is meeting in Hamburg this weekend. Parts of Hamburg is on fire, under sieged by protestors. The UK has suffered four terror attacks in the past three months, the nation is divided on Brexit whilst politicians are infighting like children; the horrors of the Grenfell Tower fire still haunt the nation.
We need alternatives and distractions. We need to love.