Voyage to India
I used India as a canvas to deliver universal symbolism and messages such as humanity, spirituality, reverence, similarities and contrast, the contradiction of social classes, the relevance or relationship of religion vs spirituality between humans and the dynamism and stagnation of our population as a whole as if it was a gigantic tide moving in and out of cycles. Throughout the times human nature has evolved but has it really progressed? My photographs are metaphors. Although the images stand on their own, the Structure In “Voyage to India” (and usually throughout my work) is to pair two seemingly unrelated pictures together to create a message, the bigger picture and thus exposing the hidden similarities to create a poignant emotion sometimes funny and light, sometimes deep and tragic in resonance.
In my life, what never ceases to amaze me is to witness the joy and strength of people who have nothing or little to look forward to in contrast with those who have everything they could possibly want and don’t realize that their essence is slowly being buried by material goods. The paradox is a testament to human nature. In Voyage to India one of the messages I want the viewer to feel is one of Hope, I do so by showing images with and without any. I am a big believer in dreamers and Hope. I think the feeling of Hope has been creatively widely overshadowed by the most divine emotion, Love. We mostly write and sing and create things that are connected by the feeling of Love (or the lack thereof) much less about Hope which is in my eyes an equally divine feeling and inseparable from Love. In fact, I think that Hope has a phenomenal impact on humans, look all around you on world scale events or here at home. Many of ones actions (collective or single, big or small) are driven by the energy and feeling of Hope. Barak Obama's 2008 election campaign was based on the premise of change but more importantly Hope, not Love. Martin Luther King’s civil rights speech allowed a whole population to see a new beginning through “a Dream” and gave them Hope. In turn, It gave the people the force to change the world. Hope is not a mean to an end but rather the start of something, the spark if you will.
When you give Hope to someone, you simply give them a reason to Be. I didn't want to make a travel book about India in fact this book is not about India, the pictures/ stories/ messages happen to takes place there. Right away I realized that I didn't want to use color photographs which is by most account a shame as India is one of the most colorful people and country I know. I chose Black and White imagery as it striped away the noise of color. Color, as amazing it is, became an element that would too easily sugarcoat the purpose of the book. Black and White images levels the plain and hopefully guides the viewer to the content I tried to expose. For me the world and people are Black and White with many shades of grey. Today's world is so noisy (visually and audibly) that people get lost on either end on creating and digesting content. Without reflection, everything is being formulated, categorized, stored, numbered, collected and analyzed by ones and zeros from your heart beat to your fingerprint. Literally, you don't exist if you are not at least on three (anti) social networks and spill your life on glossy screens. We are becoming distracted and socially distant with one another and I think our nature as a whole is suffering from it immensely.
We hide behind our sunglasses as to not make eye contact, shut off the world with headphones, walk the streets nose down on the 4” screens of our smartphones hoping that our latest post has another “Thumbs up” or “Heart” when the heart one should be looking for is probably standing right next to them... Voyage to India is an attempt to reconnect with the essential, the reverence of human nature, the basic and simple emotions that we compartment deep inside of us for fear of actually exposing ourselves truly as who we are. More and more we deny ourselves to feel and to connect honestly with others for fear of being misinterpreted or offending in the process. In my mind, there is nothing more beautiful than “honesty" wether as a trait of character or through the lens of my camera with images.