Indian Photographies
14.5K views | +0 today
Follow
Indian Photographies
Visual Culture in the Subcontinent
Curated by khicṛī
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by khicṛī
Scoop.it!

DOCUMENTARY | Gianfranco Rosi's "Boatman" (1993)

"Shot on the Ganges River at Varanasi (formerly Benares) in northern India, a center of Hinduism, Sanskrit learning and Buddhist pilgrimage, the (correctly) black-and-white Boatman, in Hindi and English, follows boatman Gopal Maji and takes in a plethora of sights both tranquil and troubling. Directed and photographed by Eritrean-born Gianfranco Rosi, this superlative film from Italy took the prize for best documentary at Hawaii. Of current and enduring interest, along the way Hindi-Muslim tension is addressed.
     But the film’s two intertwined main themes lie elsewhere. One has to do with the contradictory nature of the Ganges: a polluted sacred river. The source of much of the pollution accounts for the other theme: the accumulation of the cremated and uncremated remains of the dead, which are routinely and ritualistically consigned to the river. All this occasions another consideration: who are permitted to employ the river for this purpose; who are even able to afford to do this. Sometimes the financially destitute cannot mark a burial with the traditional funeral pyre.
     Rosi, offscreen, asks questions of Maji and others, and all the responses become part of the fabric of the river that we are watching. Rosi establishes the river’s potent symbolism from the start—on land, by the river. He invests the camera with continuous motion through crowds of people, thereby conjuring the sense of a flowing river even before we are in Maji’s rowboat on the river. In this way, the river is associated with people’s bustling lives. Once we leave land for the river, another association accumulates: the river as embodiment of the continuity of life and death. Indeed, few films more openly address death as a part of life.
     Rosi’s film is full of fine images—for instance, the parallel rows of huge shadow-casting drumlike thingamajigs between which Maji rows and halts his boat. It turns out that these are anchors, and the image provides a powerful presentiment of death."

Dennis Grunes 

http://grunes.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/boatman-gianfranco-rosi-1993/
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by khicṛī
Scoop.it!

Exhibition in NYC | Ether by Fazal Sheikh

Exhibition in NYC | Ether by Fazal Sheikh | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"The northern Indian city of Varanasi, perched on the banks of the Ganges river, is perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, a site that has drawn pilgrims literally for millennia. It’s famed for its burning ghats—the sloped-approaches to the waterfront where for centuries devotees have brought their deceased loved ones for cremation, then floating the ashes into the mighty, holy Ganges. Some Hindus still believe it’s auspicious to pass away on these steps. In Varanasi’s morning fogs and along its shrine-lined streets, visitors can feel an ancient, intangible power, a sense of place that is defined more by ritual and time than geography.

 

Varanasi’s burning grounds drew critically-acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh, whose latest project, Ether, on exhibit at Pace/MacGill gallery in New York City till Oct. 20, is the product of his own nocturnal wanderings in the old town. New York-born Sheikh’s two earlier India-based projects—Moksha (2005), of a community of widows, and Ladli (2007), portraits of young women in orphanages, hospitals, brothels—had a decidedly engaged, political edge. Ether is less so. “Other documentary pieces of mine are much clearer in the pointed nature of what I wanted to say,” says Sheikh, who first came to prominence with his work from refugee camps in Kenya. “This project is a bit more open and broad. It’s an exploration of a mood...”

 

Photograph by Fazal Sheikh

Article by Ishaan Taroor | Time Lightbox

more...
No comment yet.