> 2020 Projection Showcases

Even though the whole world is burning

Curated by
Dennese Victoria (Philippines) & Swastik Pal (India)

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ārun, India
Repressed Memories”

Nad-E Ali, Pakistan
The Other Horses”

Vinita Barretto, India
Fragile Fragments”

Aakriti Chandervanshi, India
After Eden”

Nilargha Chatterjee, India
Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity”

Deb Choudhuri, India
Fragments of The Dying Man”

Demie Dangla, Philippines
Things I Don’t Tell You”

Kirthana Devdas, India
Undercurrent”

Louise Far, Philippines
Mother of the Fairytale”

Sandra Hoyn, Germany
Aurelia´s Last 26 Days”

Sean Lee, Singapore
Young Love”

Pietro Lo Casto, Italy
To Search the Secret of the Forest”

Priyanka Singh Maharjan, Nepal
The passage of time and what remains...”

Ziad Naitaddi, Morocco
Untitled Morocco

Sushavan Nandy, India
Ebbing away of identity with the tides”

Alejandro Olazo Millán, Peru
Remains of Oblivion”

Colin Pantall, UK
Brexit Pictures”

Amy Parrish, USA
Check The Mail For Her Letter”

Jeet Sengupta, India
Behind Closed Blinds”

Bindi Sheth, India
Like Us”

Satyadeep, India
Thy Kingdom Come”

Cecilia Sordi Campos, Brazil
Das Palavras A Pele”

Marylise Vigneau, France
About Time or the Impossibility of an Island”

Atikah Zata, Indonesia
Times Like These”

CURATORS’ NOTE

We were not able to bring him here, but someone from among the many we had met through this open call sent us photographs of his brother’s long-awaited wedding. I don’t know why, but I had never forgotten this. Nor had I forgotten that he had never seen snow in his life. Perhaps, and because he wrote that it was the most beautiful wedding he had witnessed in his life, something in me wanted to remember the sincere conviction of a young man believing his brother’s happiness must be seen by many, that his own happiness must become part of a festival.

We began the work of forming this selection by asking what has brought us here – why we’re still here, and why we take others along. We didn’t know what we were looking for but when the pieces came together, the picture that was looking back at us could not help but direct us to presence and to contact.

We were drawn to and missed people. We needed our faith in contact restored. We needed to regain trust in meeting, trust in our effect on each other, and in what we still have and can still bring.

We favored work where we felt the photographer as human, as someone really engaging with people; less interested in projects maybe, but favoring for feelings, fragility and tenderness, in attempts to come close and repair.

We could not look away from all that was burning, we could not deny fear, but we needed to know that there are places where it is still safe. We needed to know where to bring each other after the fires.

We connected to work, connected to artists whom we felt were still listening to the unfolding of the stories they were telling, or were at least open to being asked again. The feeling of a certain belonging, to one’s own body, within one’s home, within one’s community, and the innocence of the craft, which very often might not be so trendy, drew us.

In a way these works introspect the world they reside in, the world of the things they can still touch; works which try to establish empathetic conversations around their relations, and tend to look after each other as some sort of utopian community.

Be it a tender personal work, or a poetic visual introspection into rapid urbanisation and loss of ethnic communities, loss of what was once held as true, the common thread has been the will to pause, reflect and converse. To be present long enough to feel, to come back, or to grieve the inability to do so.

ENTER THE Showcase

Even Though the Whole World is Burning
Silence threads together this meeting of works –not due to a lack of voice, but rather, a need to listen, to be present, and to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them. The diverse collection is characterised by an open-ended approach to the work, in which the photographer is more interested in sharing rather than telling.

Curated by Dennese Victoria (Philippines) and Swastik Pal (India), this showcase was first presented at the 16th Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops.

Interview with Dennese Victoria and Swastik Pal

Read the interview by Tan Lee Kuen with the invited guest curators about their process, experience and hopes for the showcase they crafted together. 

Read >

“I hope to make people feel again, better if it would make them miss people again, make them bolder, make all of us want to go out and journey again despite everything.”

CURATOR BIOGRAPHIES

Born in October 1991, Dennese Victoria is an artist living and working in the Philippines. Working across photography, moving image and installation, her work touches on truth, memory, personal history, and the exchanges that occur between herself and those that are reached by the forming and the sharing of her work. 

Receiving a degree in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 2012, she has since worked as an educator, cultural worker, and cinematographer, including filming for Shireen Seno’s second feature, Nervous Translation. She is currently a visiting faculty member at the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Born in 1991, Swastik Pal is a graduate from Calcutta University, India. After completing his post graduate diploma in mass communication from Jadavpur University, he received full scholarship to pursue Diploma in Photojournalism, at the Asian Center for Journalism, a World Press Photo partner organisation at Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. He is keenly interested in photography and filmmaking. 

Presently he is an independent photographer based in Calcutta, working on long term projects. In 2015, he was the recipient of the National Foundation of IndiaNational Media Photography Fellowship for his project- The Hungry Tide. He was nominated for the Joop Swart World Press Masterclass in 2015, 2017 and 2018. He recently completed a Masters in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Calcutta.

“How have you been?” 


What happens after a work is shown?

Almost a year after the curators first got to know the photographers featured in this showcase, they reached out once again to find out what has happened in the time since their work was shown.

We share below excerpts of their reflections.

Repressed Memories

Ārun
(India)

News from Ārun, one year later.  

9-27-2021

How have you been? 
I am doing ok in mental health and physical. Things are stressful at times, but good friends keep me going. Finance level has not been great. Just running on fumes.

How do you see your work now? If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now…
The story evolved by reading quite a lot of books and analysing paintings of diptychs and triptychs from Hieronymus Bosch. Also with Walter Benjamin and Susan Sontag books etc. I am understanding the aura of my photographs.

As I became vulnerable the photographs showed more empathy and relationship between them.

What is helping you at this time?
Friends.

The Other Horses

Nad-E Ali
(Pakistan)

News from Nad-E, one year later.  

6-30-2021

How do you see your work now? If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now, or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

I think after the sudden death of my father due to COVID 19 and witnessing him struggle for his life there are a lot of things / changes I am going through mentally and both physically. So is my work and my relationship to this world and my city I am living with. 

I think it has been extremely overwhelming and difficult finding a way to deal with all these strong sudden recalling of memories with my father and discovering some of the old photographs of him in his different phases of his life has become more vivid on my mind and they make me remind of so many things in a unique way now which I never thought much about before in this way which is now. I am taking the time to work with these feelings and maybe I would like to say something out and share it in the future. If not now I am absorbing and learning more deeply about life and its impermanence. I think these experiences will take me and my quest with photography into a new direction.

Fragile Fragments

Vinita Barretto
(India)

News from Vinita, one year later.  

6-1-2021

The one thing that remains constant from then to now is the ability to make photographs . My ability to be in my present moment , to feel and observe my surroundings . This is the closest I can get to my reality with complete honesty. As I write I feel empowered to let go of my fears.

Making photographs was and is my therapy.

After Eden

Aakriti Chandervanshi
(India)

News from Aakriti, one year later.  

9-30-2021

How do you see your work now? If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now, or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

A substantial span of time has passed since I have visited the work last in physicality, yet it has grown vastly since it last was screened at Angkor the past year. When I had begun the work, all I did whilst advocating for heritage or photographing to preserve the memory was for the following generations to render what they could lose and hopefully, inspire them to save before it is too late. Since the pandemic began, despite considerable efforts to revisit the space to continue the work, I felt it would be ‘too late’, especially when I would read about attempts of resistance by the community even until late 2020. 

Through the eyes of the curators, Dennese and Swastik, the array of works After Eden was placed alongside, there was a definitive shift in my perspective. What piqued my interest was how so many artists responded to their surroundings, questioning and investigating the past and its representation, exploring mediums to capture and create lasting stories of what they felt at the time. 

 

 “To be present long enough to feel, to come back, or to grieve the inability to do so”

 

This line in the curatorial note summed up and better yet, curbed my anxiety and restored the failing faith. And as for the present, what I do hope if and when I can return is to document more transitional moments, questioning how the space provided new perspectives on difficult pasts and thus, how this history can inform the current times.  Here’s to hoping. 

 

How have you been? / How are things where you are. What is helping you at this time?

I had been feeling distant lately, from people, work and reality I guess. The past few months had been more of an automated response to living cooped up in an apartment courtesy the second wave in our country. Now that things have eased out, when it all gets overwhelming and I need a steady point from which to contemplate the ever-mutating thoughts. I walk down to my favourite stationery store, it never disappoints. 

 

As for the ‘Call for Action’ if you could add the following:

Closer to home, similar yet imperative stories are being covered and brought to light through ‘The Caravan Magazine: A Journal of Politics and Culture’.

You could contribute your support to the same through https://caravanmagazine.in

Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity

Nilargha Chatterjee
(India)

News from Nilargha, one year later.  

9-28

How have you been?

I am the same as last year but more composed. It’s been a different time we all are going through, I planned a lot of things for this time while we were quarantined, reading, watching movies, online courses, and whatnot. But what I ended up doing is spending a lot of time with myself and my family in a way that I haven’t done for years.  

 

How do you see your work now?

The way I see my work today is the same as I was seeing it last year. But the thing which is bothering me most is that I haven’t visited that place for a long time. I am planning a visit to that place once I get fully vaccinated.

The last one and a half years helped me to understand human emotion and relation with one’s family in a very deep way. I hope it will reflect on my future works as well.

Things I Don't Tell You

Demie Dangla
(Philippines)

News from Demie, one year later.  

5-30-2021

I’m doing okay. I’m planning to work on other personal projects if given the opportunity. It’s actually what’s keeping me sane.

After seeing my work again after a long time, I’ve felt a mix of emotions because it reminded me of how I/we felt during the first few months of the pandemic. Sadly, we’re still in the same state. 

Thank you.

– Demie

Fragments of The Dying Man

Deb Choudhuri
(India)

News from Deb, one year later.  

— see also the conversation with Dennese > “look after each other

5-29-2021

How have you been? / How are things where you are

I am okay. Hanging on to life. Practicing silence and yet continuing to act for myself. The act of photography is  that act -a necessity that keeps me going. Currently in New York, where things are returning back to ‘normal’. In my homeland, India, the situation is dire around Covid. There is a certain despair and feeling of numbness within at times. Life is a constant struggle and we have to keep fighting and also growing as long as we are here. Many lives have been lost both here in New York and in India. Just hoping that we who made it out alive learn that all we have is each other. Society can only change for the good when we can show up for each other. Be it through exchanges in art or life itself.

 

How do you see your work now? / If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now / or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

I continue to photograph with the same desire, to immerse in as many experiences as I can. I am slowing down a bit and listening more. Trying to take it one day at a time. My work and life are intertwined. Always has been. I try to not think or at least now trying not to think so much about where life is headed. I do see photography as the only way for me to exist and establish a sense of love, friendship and solidarity with the other. Every person and every story is precious.   The way life has changed is that now I am in a better psychological state and not moving around so much, but will start exploring again. The project for me is one – Life itself. Everything can be condensed into different chapters of this large book that life is. For all of us. 

 

What is helping you at this time?

 Trying to grow within and be more fluid in my approach to life. Meditating and exploring experimental videos and other forms of media to keep telling my stories is proving to be efficient. Just little things.  

We are surrounded by news of atrocities around us and no matter how much we share instagram stories, or social media solidarity, it will never be enough. As one grows , one realizes that the world and life is far bigger and more violent than what even the mediums of information today are capable of capturing. And everything today is being consumed by capitalist ideologies. So to live one’s own life in an ethical way and be responsible for oneself and those around us is the way to keep the fight alive. The personal is political. 

Art always matters. We just have to remain free and not be lost in the noise.

Undercurrent

Kirthana Devdas
(India)

News from Kirthana, one year later.  

6-9-2021

I’ve been alright mostly. I’ve been keeping busy to keep sane and then getting tired of it all every now and then. I haven’t been able to go out and work and just when things were starting to open up again here, the second wave hit and things got quite grim in India. I feel like I shouldn’t complain because the things I miss are trivial compared to what I’ve seen people suffer over the last year, and I end up feeling guilty somehow. (but I really miss rooms filled with my favourite people, and just being outside and in the world and in unfamiliar places.) I’m grateful for all that I have.

It feels a little strange to look at the work because I made it at a time when we were completely locked in at home. Later things opened up for a bit, but again now, after a year, exactly a year actually, we’re back in the same place, and it’s worse than last year in fact. It felt like a temporary passing phase that I couldn’t quite grasp when I made these photographs. A year later, it looks more familiar, and all I was feeling is more routine now. 

Keeping busy is helping me at the moment. I’ve been part of a collective for almost a year. It came together during the pandemic and it’s been a warm, safe space to have conversations around photography and beyond. My family has been my go to over the last year and the only people I’ve really socialized with, physically. My sister is a designer and she and I are working on building something together. I’ve put my hands in a few things. Without the usual work, I’m able to put my mind on all these other things that inspire me, and under normal circumstances they might’ve taken the backseat. That’s where I am right now.

Mother of the Fairytale

Louise Far
(Philippines)

News from Louise, one year later.  

6-1-2021

How have you been? / How are things where you are

Thank you for asking this. I have been feeling hopeful, grateful and guided in my life’s path.

There is a tinge of anxiety in the process because of the newness of what lies ahead.

I have been meeting anger too. I am trying to understand its presence.

Ikaw, kayo, how have you been?

 

How do you see your work now? / If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now / or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

I came across the phrase “mono no aware” recently,
and I am reminded of the blossoming and withering
occurring simultaneously in a plant with a dying flower and a leaf waking up,
in habits of the past serving no longer and invitations to live life anew,
and in stories that come to an end and new narratives arising, asking to be told.

Mother of the Fairytale is complete, I now see.
It has been living a course of its own, come to think of it.
And where it needs me, I will support it.
Where it gives hints of the possible what-next, I try to listen.

When I look at the book’s opening image of the two teachers facing each other,
what I see now is a meeting of the self and the world,
one’s life story as mirrored, as witnessed by another
and maybe… that is what education is, and we are being asked
now, again, to know thy s/Self.

What is helping you at this time?

Before the transition to 2021, I received a symbolic gift of a flat rock,
where all can be seen and unseen,
where I can sit and watch the day turn to night
and the night turn to day and night again,
yet only to realize that both are happening at the same time.
In awareness, in awe, in mystery,
being allowed to witness gestures from spectrum’s ends,
living the questions more than answers,
learning to navigate polarities
and tending the middle–
these have helped along the way.

 

On call to actions:

1.
Tuburan Institute
The Steiner School and Community in Mindanao, Philippines
https://www.facebook.com/TuburanInstitute
http://www.tuburaninstitute.org/

2.
For inquiries on the Mother of the Fairytale book:
motherofthefairytale[at]gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/motherofthefairytale
https://motherofthefairytale.weebly.com/about-motf.html

Aurelia's Last 26 Days

Sandra Hoyn
(Germany)

News from Sandra, one year later.  

8-18-2021

How have you been?

I felt exhausted after this documentary. It was the first time for me to accompany somebody until the death. Aurelia died in a very peacfull way. It was an emotional experience. I learned that I need to take care of myself when I cover stories like these.

It is still hard to hear her voice in the film I made. I miss her. After her death I was not able for month to watch and edit the film.

How do you see your work now?

The way I see my work now didn’t change. This story should not encourage suicide or advertise dead as the only solution. This story should rembember a special woman. And encourage discussions about this topic. That is was Aurelia wanted when she was alive. She wanted to tell her story, to create awareness and hoped to get more understanding for euthanasia for mentally ill patients.

I know for healthy people it´s hard to understand, also for me. After spending the last weeks together with her, I think I understand her just a little bit. No one else can feel her pain. Depression is a subjective emotion and feelings are also subjective. No one can exactly feel what you feel. And sometimes the medication and treatment doesn’t help like in Aurelias case.

Allowing euthanasia opens up a lot of issues. Who has the say in who dies and who not? When is the suffering too much to live on? Where is the difference between an incurably ill patient, who can no longer endure the pain of his physical illness, and an incurably ill patient who can no longer endure the pain of his mental illness?

I slept on her couch in the living room. Every day I was afraid that one day she will not come out of her bedroom because she tried to commit suicide. During the second week it was getting really bad, she got impatient and could not stand to wait for her euthanasia anymore. Once she told me in the morning that she is grateful to me for being there because she had otherwise tried to kill herself last night.

It was difficult to deal with when she hurt herself. Once she said to me, Sandra, I want to hurt myself now, you can choose if you stay in the room, or you can go out if you can not see it. But don´t try to stop me. I stayed with her. She slowly sqeezes out cigarettes on her arm. It was terrible not to have a possibility to stop or help her.

The evening before her death she invited her best friends at home for dinner to say goodby. It was more like a birthday party, they were laughing, talking, making jokes. When the guests left, Aurelia took sleeping medicine and fell asleep on the couch in the living room. A friend and I stayed the night with her the to take care of her. The next morning, the paramedics arrived and gave her access in the vene, in case she will vomit the medicine she has to drink later. For me, that was the moment when I finally realized she was about to die.

Aurelia gave me permission to take photographs during her euthanasia. But I decided not to photograph during she was dying. I just was next to her as a friend. I was sad, completely exhausted, but also relieved that it went well, she did not vomit the medication

To Search the Secret of the Forest

Pietro Lo Casto
(Italy)

News from Pietro, one year later.  

6-18-21

How do you see your work now? / If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now / or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

Following the pandemic I have begun to see my work as the opportunity to propose alternative, affirmative paths to redirect the ideologies of dominant Western societies, in order to break down the ideal of anthropocentrism and human exceptionalism. “to search the secret of the forest” has not changed meaning, however how I see it now is working almost as a map to outline the possibility of a new collective subjectivity capable of recognizing the coexistence of human and non-human beings.

I don’t know if all of this matters, does it have an impact? it probably does not. But I see that art making, and the research process that comes with it, has a major impact on my perception of society and the understanding of my place in the world. That makes me keep on going. 

Untitled Morocco

Ziad Naitaddi
(Morocco)

News from Ziad, one year later.  

5-28-2021

 « I have been very well, working more on my projects as an act of resilience and resistance even if economical side it’s a strong destruction but still working against what we are undergoing as world citizens, natural human beings and finally as creators. Things here haven’t changed widely because it was always the same situation, not good but not bad. Not negatively influenced locally but internationally, yes, especially when we work as artists with international institutions & funds. 

What is helping me this time, honestly and sincerely, is the wellbeing of my beloved ones and family. »

News from Sushavan, one year later.  

5-28-21

Also honestly, say in the last one and a half year, I can’t work much. I was affected by covid and now my health isn’t as good like before but I overcame the problem. 

I can’t continue my old climate change work. So now I am focusing my new project. Funds issue, less assignment, no grant and corona problem, my current position  is not good. But still, I am working. I hope all problems will be solved one day.

 

10-1

How have you been?

I am really happy that I am able to showcase my work through the Angkor Photo Festival. As I have a lot of personal experience with my work, it’s a very important part of my life. I had to stop the working due to the pandemic, and I am missing the presence of those people whom my project is based on.

 

How do you see your work now?

After doing the hard work for three years, I put this project to an end. And I believe that I have successfully conveyed the story of those people who have suffered and lost their home, job and their identity; in a different way, using climate change as a metaphor. 

Ebbing Away Of Identity With The Tides was recently released as a zine with Another Place Press. That version is currently sold out. However custom prints can be made possible. Contact [email protected]

 

Remains of Oblivion

Alejandro Olazo Millán
(Peru)

News from Alejandro, one year later.  

8-17-21

Aquí en Perú las cosas tampoco andan bien sin embargo las actividades se están reactivando de manera pausada y se vocea una posible tercera ola por el Covid. Yo en los últimos meses he llevado online un programa llamado Seminario de Producción Fotográfica (SPF) del Centro de la Imagen de México, este programa me ha permitido conocer nuevas formas y aproximaciones en cuanto a la imagen y siento que también es una enorme ayuda con mis ánimos por todo lo que ha pasado en lo últimos meses aquí en Perú (elecciones presidenciales cargadas de racismo, odio, peleas entre la izquierda y derecha a niveles delirantes, la pandemia y un largo etc.)

6-3-21

I feel really lucky. Fortunately no one of my close relatives has got covid infected and that is really lucky, considering how the situation is in Peru right now, and how critical the public health services have been. I have not been able to travel to continue with this work, because I have been extra careful to not get infected. Maybe some people in my pictures have died from Covid, I don’t know. I hope to be reunited with them soon, I hope they are ok.

My friends, family and girlfriend have helped me endure this pandemic time.

News from Amy, one year later.  

5-29-21

How have you been? / How are things where you are

I am thankful to have remained physically well. India as a whole, however, is still going through challenging times with the pandemic and, in West Bengal, we are under a new lockdown that has just been extended another 2 weeks.

How do you see your work now? / If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now / or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

I’m not sure if the proper explanation is ‘healing’ or ‘desensitization’ but when I first created the work, I was emotionally raw and thinking entirely of my grandmother’s life and illness. Now, more than a year later, I realize I consider the work as its own entity. I guess, instead of it communicating to me in a sentimental way, most images have transformed into something that feels more universal. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that change.

What is helping you at this time?

The land on which I rent my house is everything to me right now. There is a rich amount of biodiversity available in such a small plot and I’ve become entranced by edible leaves and mushrooms, fruit trees and flowers;  insects, bats, monkeys, birds, reptiles; birth and death; and now paying closer attention to the movement of air and light.

A “call to actions”

(something simple, to the effect of…)

To learn more, visit www.amyparrish.com.

 

 

Behind Closed Blinds

Jeet Sengupta
(India)

News from Jeet, one year later.  

5-31-21

Yes I am doing good till now, with my parents close to me, especially my mother, I feel grateful everyday. But there is also a paranoia of having to lose them due to any unexpected  unfavourable situations. So trying to cope up with this fear in these testing times. And I hope you are also doing good.

In India as you know the things have gotten worse with the second wave. And especially during the elections in Bengal it was a huge mess. Although now after 16 days of lockdown cases are again dropping. But things are really difficult for working class people in this situation. I don’t know when will this come to an end.

About my work, Behind Close Blinds, I feel it has grown with me. When I look at the work now and try making sense of the photographs or the time that I have spent, I feel a slight detachment with them, as I believe I do not think or feel the same way I did back then, as if I was the only person around my circle who’s being lonely and deprived of the so called good things or entertainment. But now, I have learnt to look at the world differently and trying to comprehend the situation of our country, I feel so grateful to be in my position. And I don’t feel lonely with my desires and failures anymore. So, the way I feel at home now and the images I have been making in recent times might talk about something else as compared to my earlier images. But I really can’t say that how the work will shape in the coming days, the only thing I can say is that it has definitely changed with time and my feelings.

It’s also very difficult for me to talk about the moments of individual images from the work, because the work was about the mundane, ordinary, everyday life attached with my feelings at that particular time. So, I believe that all the images put together try to talk about that particular phase rather than a moment in my life.

Well, at this time I am continuing this progressive muscle relaxation and another small 3 minutes of meditation exercise suggested by my therapist and trying to be more kind. 

Also enjoying my mother’s beautiful cooked meal almost everyday. So yes food is definitely helping me to calm my mind at this time.

 

Like Us

Bindi Sheth
(India)

News from Bindi, one year later.  

9-24-2021

How have you been? / How are things where you are

I am doing better than I did last year as I have started a new project and also did a couple of fashion shoots. That is helping me cope. Being indoors for more than a year gets me physically more exhausted …it feels like one has aged faster.

After Like us I am documenting the minority Parsi community in Ahmedabad which has turned out to be quite diverse. Each family has its uniqueness but certain underlying mannerisms continue throughout. This is the link to this project: https://leica-store.in/majja-ni-life. It contains a few images from when I first started. I have since documented almost thirty families

I am glad I finished Like Us before the pandemic. Considering how bad the second wave was in India, it would have been impossible to continue. My experience of the pandemic in India has also made me realise that we ought to be more inclusive as human beings.

About the prints: I have not been able to sell more prints but it would be nice if I could. So yes, please include my email (bin[email protected]). The proceeds will go to Prabhat Education Foundation.

Take care

Warm Regards 

Bindi Sheth

 

 

Thy Kingdom Come

Satyadeep
(India)

News from Satyadeep, one year later.  

9-25-21

If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now /  or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning

Answer:

Now along with this pandemic it was difficult to continue and travel around for this project, but now that things are quite stable. I’m thinking to revisit the community again soon and seeing what changes came “mentally or financially”  among these small villages, especially with youngsters more looking forward for their words of “vision and growth” in upcoming years.

Take care

Warm Regards 

Bindi Sheth

 

 

Das Palavras A Pele

Cecilia Sordi Campos
(Brazil)

News from Cecilia, one year later.  

5-31-21

How have you been? / How are things where you are

I have been well and fortunate enough to be in a place where a sense of “normality” has been restored. While I still try to grapple with the notions of what normality in fact may be and what it should be like. It has been a daily questioning of my role as a human being who is part of a natural and cosmic world. While I am grateful to be in an almost COVID-free situation, my spirit still longs for some quiet, solitude, and also the opportunity to see my family soon. 

 

How do you see your work now? / If you can share some things about how you’re seeing things now / or perhaps a moment in one of the photographs that has stayed with you or maybe has changed meaning…

While the work I have shown during Angkor feels visually complete, I still see the project (alongside my other projects) as an extension of my questioning of the nuances of my being human. The moment that has truly stayed with me was during a shoot for the project, as it made me slowly and painfully realise that true intimacy is not only carnal, but in fact a choice from the spirit, and that at times, attempting to surround oneself to the unknown is the best answer. 

 

What is helping you at this time?

Psychoanalysis! The opportunity to plunge into the dark and hidden corners of my mind and allow these to breathe, to expand. The process of allowing the critical thinking process to be born out of the nuances of how I use words to express what can’t always be described. People are also helping! Loving people in ways that I did not know possible before!

In relation to the call to action, I am open to any opportunity that may come my way, I am also open to sharing. I would love others’  thoughts and ideas of how this could happen!

Sorry about the long reply! I’d love to have a chat with you sometimes, it was so lovely the first time around. And please let me know if there is anything you need from me or anything I can help with. 

Much love your way!

 

Cecilia

 

News from Marylise, one year later.  

5-29-21

I have been on the road again in Kyrgyzstan, trying to build a portrait of the country 30 years after the end fall of the USSR.

I had the privilege to get vaccinated recently, so I feel free again, and I am sad that it is not the case for everyone.

Best wishes,

Marylise

 

Times Like These

Atikah Zata
(Indonesia)

News from Atikah, one year later.  

9-23-2021

How are you? / How are things where you are

We are getting better, and getting used to this new situation. One thing that I am very grateful for is that our family is healthy until today. 2021 will be tough days. Some of our close relatives have contracted Covid-19. But again we are grateful because today everything is getting better.

 

How do you see your current job? / If you can share a few things about how you see things now / or maybe a moment in one of the photos that has stayed with you or may have changed meaning…

I am grateful to continue to capture our daily activities during the early days of the pandemic. Nothing has changed, all the photos from the Times Like These series are one of the most important memories for our family. The story of how we survived. A lot of things have changed after the second year of the pandemic especially about how we see things. We see a lot of gratitude every day. I am grateful that we can still enjoy our favorite food together in good health.

 

What is helping you at this time?

For me, the pandemic opened up many opportunities, especially in my attempt to start a career as a photographer. Several learning opportunities that I thought were impossible actually came during the pandemic. Currently keeping yourself busy and trying to stay productive is one of the most helpful ways during a situation like this.

DETAILS ABOUT WORKS

Repressed Memories

Repressed Memories

Ārun (India)

The Other Horses

The Other Horses

Nad-E Ali (Pakistan)

Fragile Fragments

Fragile Fragments

Vinita Barretto (India)

After Eden

After Eden

Aakriti Chandervanshi (India)

Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity

Metamorphosis of an Ancient Identity

Nilargha Chatterjee (India)

Things I Don’t Tell You

Things I Don’t Tell You

Demie Dangla (Philippines)

Fragments of The Dying Man

Fragments of The Dying Man

Deb Choudhuri (India)

Undercurrent

Undercurrent

Kirthana Devdas (India)

Mother of the Fairytale

Mother of the Fairytale

Louise Far (Philippines)

Aurelia’s Last 26 Days

Aurelia’s Last 26 Days

Sandra Hoyn (Germany)

Young Love

Young Love

Sean Lee (Singapore)

To Search the Secret of the Forest

To Search the Secret of the Forest

Pietro Lo Casto (Italy)

The passage of time and what remains…

The passage of time and what remains…

Priyanka Singh Maharjan (Nepal)

Untitled Morocco

Untitled Morocco

Ziad Naitaddi (Morocco)

Remains of Oblivion

Remains of Oblivion

Alejandro Olazo Millán (Peru)

Ebbing away of identity with the tides

Ebbing away of identity with the tides

Sushavan Nandy (India)

Brexit Pictures

Brexit Pictures

Colin Pantall (UK)

Check the Mail for Her Letter

Check the Mail for Her Letter

Amy Parrish (USA)

Behind Closed Blinds

Behind Closed Blinds

Jeet Sengupta (India)

Like Us

Like Us

Bindi Sheth (India)

Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come

Satyadeep (India)

Das Palavras A Pele

Das Palavras A Pele

Cecilia Sordi Campos (Brazil)

About Time or the Impossibility of an Island

About Time or the Impossibility of an Island

Marylise Vigneau (France)

Times Like These

Times Like These

Atikah Zata (Indonesia)

look after each other

A conversation between Deb Choudhuri & Dennese Victoria
06:00, 24 July 2021, Metro Manila /
18:00, 23 July 2021, New York

 

 

Dennese Victoria

Deb Choudhuri

 

 

 

i actually don’t know how to begin this

 

Hi. How are you?

 

 

it’s morning for me, it’s 6 in the morning.

 

It’s really early.

 

 

it’s the opposite of new york time. actually maybe let’s turn off the video. so i can talk because i’m nervous.

 

Okay.

 

 

i wanted to first thank you for saying yes. because actually you don’t have to talk to me, and i guess there’s not much in it for you. so i wanted to thank you for that. but at the same time –

 

 

Wait, Dennese, I will try to just open the video because I think sometimes your voice just gets a bit cut off. So I can make sense of what you are saying then at least.

 

 

okay, sorry. sorry, i’ll turn on mine.

 

Yeah. I don’t know if your wifi connection is good, or mine is problematic, but yeah.

 

 

maybe mine is also bad.

 

Sometimes just the voice gets cuts off a little bit. But it’s okay, it should be good.

 

 

can you hear me now?

 

It’s alright.

 

 

i’m not really prepared.i’m not treating it as an interview. and i worry that it’s kind of like me going to the priest and confessing. but it is, kind of that – how do i want to begin?

 

 

You wanted to like ask me something?

 

 

yeah, no, i am going to ask. i’m just trying to begin.

 

 

Okay… No, that’s what I read in your e-mail also…

 

 

as you can i see i am anxious. but i was going to say earlier that from the beginning, you have always kind of answered me even if you didn’t have to. what i remember is that how i first found you was basically we shared the open call, and then i saw your instagram.

 

 

 

I think i couldn’t make it that day, I was working or something. The time difference was there so I couldn’t make it on that screening day. yeah, I remember.

 

 

 

no, no. i was actually thinking of before, during the application process. so the first time i opened your instagram is the first time that i saw your work. and then i think you were in kind of a crisis then.

 

and then i just kind of panicked because you were in trouble. and i just kind of wrote to you and you answered very kindly.

 

so that was before. way earlier before i would know that we would select your work. so for me at least that was how i met you.

 

and i guess what i wanted for this, and because you have actually written a lot about your work, and recently i’m surprised to see colour in your work, but i think now i wanted to talk to you as someone who showed your work, who believed in it, but also as someone who is scared by it.

 

i mean, i feel a lot because of it. and at the same time i kind of, as a curator and as someone who wrote all of those things about care, i kind of ran away, i feel. like i couldn’t continue to listen, i couldn’t continue to listen as much

 

 

 

Yeah it’s been a journey for me also in that way because, like you know, it’s not something that I had planned before or something that I had in mind that I want to work in this way or the other. It’s just how kind of life leads you to different situations and it took me a while to actually understand and be able to put or start to put things together or make sense of it. I don’t really, for the most part, i don’t always plan on how I am going to approach something, or things like that. But of course I am always fascinated by people who have like been through some experiences that kind of change their ways of looking at their own lives and in some way confronting several issues of their own life.

 

So I believe that it may be a part of me, but also a part of journeys of several other people who are part of this greater image of myself. So you know… it’s not just – but yeah of course the way it started and I still don’t think i can actually make sense of the loss that I have had in the past. I am trying to get over it and I am trying to find ways of not letting the past always kind of haunt me, but also it’s something that keeps me moving forward.

 

My belief and my hope in different people from different identities and different experiences themselves, that’s some sort of faith that keeps me moving…so yeah, there is that. That’s how it kind of like started.

 

 

 

sorry for being intense from the beginning. because i know that the work is not you, i mean it is part of you, but that you are like a larger than –

 

 

 

It is me in a way, like everything is about me. But I just don’t want to make that kind of a message that it is just me, or you know…It’s just how I have started. Like I look at life that way, and how and what that means to me.

 

Because I am sure that it’s not also possible that everyone that I photograph or every situation that I am in, cannot actually keep going forever you know… I cannot hold on to people forever. But photography is definitely an efficient tool to make some meaning out of what’s left in life actually…

 

And yeah there are many issues that are always…issues like this that basically relates to, either with death or some sort of addiction, that are always difficult to talk about. But also there are ways in which I feel all of us find ways to tell our stories through struggles. And as long as we do that, it’s fair… It’s all part of life and we just have to… As long as we listen to each other and are kind enough to accommodate each other, that’s only thing that matters for me.

 

 

 

i guess, i’m also, because, i guess i’m also not just remembering your work, but also the things you would sometimes post on instagram. and during that time, i was kind of thinking as the “curator” during that time, that for you, was i also that

“art world

 

?”

 

cause i was also writing to you before about how to me, you are actually successful already. and i think i remember just trying to convince you to kind of stay.

 

 

 

Hmmm…Yeah I know. I wouldn’t, like when I say that, of course I do go through like some emotional upsurges and downsides but eventually I am trying to look at the positive side too, you know. Like not to get too lost in some sort of cycle of things and it is important. Now I think eventually we all grow out of a certain pattern and cycle and it is important to keep growing and keep healing from within and I am trying to get there eventually.

 

 

 

Yeah. No, no because not to put you on the spot but i was also just wondering, what did you think like, was my responsibility?

 

 

Sorry i think I lost you

 

 

hello? can you hear me now?

 

 

Did you ask me something? can you repeat the question?

 

 

 

i think i’m just also asking like how to not make people – how to not leave people feeling used, you know? like is it just for a show?

 

because with work like yours, and with similar work, it’s just so intimate that it’s hard for me to separate it from seeing that person as a person, and not just a photographer.

 

and then i know i had that professional role but at the same time i was thinking of like, how do we – not just for you – how do we actually navigate that? because i don’t –

 

 

 

How do I do it? or in general?

 

 

 

or maybe what do you think? because i do think about it like, is just a show worth it? or how do we actually-

 

 

 

I think photography in itself is very difficult to – like condense so much of information or experience of a human being. That’s why we have film, and why we try to like gradually expand our horizons towards that way. But definitely, I look at everything in terms of multiplicities. So the more images we have, it is something like a way to also make sense of where we are headed to. This is something that lot of people have told me, like people who I respect and love. You know, it’s like, growing like a tree, as they say.

 

It’s definitely something that’s very important for all of us. And I think after a point, art cannot exist just in a bubble, and we just have to find people who react and people who kind of like, you know at some level, we connect at a wavelength, right? So we have to always keep searching, for places and people who can connect to each other, and disseminate more of our art and our experience. So, that is just how it is.

 

I mean like, for example I always try to work with people who are, I would say, like you know, someone who tries to do different things. Like for example when you started curating this. It’s not really about how rigid things are, but how fluid it can be.

 

Like how different forms of shape all of our works together can take in, particularly in Angkor. Because it was an open call also, we saw like so many different kinds of work. It’s not just personal, but it was also everything. So I think that is very powerful in itself.

 

 

 

i’m a bit of at a loss for words. cause i was, i don’t know, you seem so lighter than i imagined. i was really worried for you. yeah. so now i’m kind of like,

how do i do this?

 

i imagined something else. but it’s nice this way, you know?

 

 

 

There are some things which are hard and difficult for me to talk about, so I am trying to talk about more lighter things and ways like we can look at each other’s work and stuff like that.

 

 

 

but don’t you want to –

 

 

 

But of course, there have been experiences that I would say have been hard on me. Like of late, I do accept the fact that I sometimes do go through extreme emotional changes and that is something that I am working on. I guess we are all working on something or the other.

 

 

yeah, like how i disappear.

 

 

 

It does affect things but I try to really not project that onto other people, so sometimes I feel like it’s all on me and I just have to get through it.  But it’s just like how sometimes situations and circumstances that define a particular state of my mind, so yeah.

 

 

 

for me at least, i know it’s not for everyone but, it’s so intimate, these kinds of works and it’s like, once you know this thing about this person, it’s hard to not see it.

 

it’s hard to distance yourself from it. and like you write, people give a part of themselves to you.

 

and like i wrote to you, i just wanted to face you, you know? that’s why i just wanted to call. there’s not much – because i feel like your work, how you write, i understand it and there’s not much to ask. but i just wanted to face you, and not feel like i just ran away. and that i just made this show and felt cool.

 

i also wanted to say that actually i applied for a grant which would have supposedly – because when i looked at 300 people’s work, i just saw something, i just saw so much that i liked.

 

and then i wanted to make this book where i’d take, i’d re-invite all 24 of you, just a single image from all of you, and then take more from the open call, from the ones we didn’t select before, and then just bring them together.

 

but i didn’t get selected, and i was so sad about it. i wanted to bring you guys something real, you know?

 

 

 

But I think it’s just a process sometimes. That’s always something that I also kind of think about, how there are grants and competitions, and how much do they kind of determine your work as an artist, or who is it that really defines who you are as an artist. But it’s just a process of helping you, and kind of providing some external encouragement. But even if someone does not make it through something doesn’t mean that the world is ending.

 

And it’s also like there is so much noise and there is so much networking and all these things are involved. I feel or maybe I used to feel that the kind of situations and backgrounds that I come from, it’s like I always used to think that I am a loner, or that the stroll is pretty lonely for me, but now I have started to kind of think the other way.

 

That if you want to look for help, there will be people who will at least hold your hand. Maybe it’s not getting a big grant or something but it’s just a little push or just a way to hold someone’s hand and just show some path, of where you are, and who you are, and what you can do with your life.

 

It’s not just to be limited by getting a grant, and not getting a grant, or winning an award, or not winning an award, but something more, something more personal.

 

 

 

You did get a grant recently, no?

 

 

Oh! I was nominated for that grant but it did not happen, which is kind of sad because of covid and things got postponed. But yeah, it;s like something that I have been recently – that I am trying to be more active in and trying to figure out opportunities to kind of keep pushing and keep pursuing work. It’s fairly recent…I am starting to understand that it is important also to reach out to people and maybe at least ask for some help or something like that. It’s important and I am still figuring it out. But maybe, eventually we all get somewhere…

 

 

 

definitely. and yet no, because i was so happy to see your name there.

 

 

Yeah… That kind of was a booster.

 

 

 

because i thought that it was from home. it would be something from your home coming to you. but now i’m sad to hear it didn’t happen.

(edit: In July 2021, during the time that we spoke, the grant had been halted, but now, in October 2021, the nominees are waiting for the final results to be announced)

 

 

i think i called you too late. you seem lighter. i mention it and i am relieved because you know, years ago i cared for a friend who was suffering and needed to be in the psych ward. some of us were taking care of her but it was really intense to constantly need to be the strong one. i stayed with her through that but when she got out, i kind of ended the friendship because i couldn’t do it anymore. it was hard but i really had nothing left to give. i was left with all of my own needs unminded.

 

but even now when i think about it and her, why do I write all of these things about care and about looking after each other… when in my daily life, my relationships are suffering? why do I need more people? because essentially I did look for more people to care for in this curation when I didn’t do so well at that in my real life. i think I’m just thinking of that often.

 

 

 

I think so too. Perhaps you know, we are humans and we don’t really understand each other’s worth unless we actually lose someone and then we start understanding the importance. Because sometimes I feel, it might be like a weird feeling, but that if someone was alive then maybe I wouldn’t have valued that, and it would have led me to something else than where I am right now. I mean these are just thoughts.

 

But I have met people who have lost, I mean, we all lose people in our lives. Eventually I am trying to come to terms with this fact that, it is inevitable. Loss is something that, it’s just how each one of us kind of deals with it, and how each one of us kind of reacts to it that is different. And we just have to have that courage to not give up. But saying this is much easier, you know. Living it is very different.

 

 

 

but there are moments sometimes… i feel there are moments where you feel very, very close to loved. to being loved properly.

 

 

 

Yeah, definitely. Even if it’s short-lived moments. Like you sharing your story with someone, and listening to their stories, or even more intimate encounters whatever that is. Yeah, there are those moments. And I am not saying that everyone will last forever. Even in my life, I know that. Maybe I might have photographed someone who is not present physically in the same city, or in the same location anymore. But we are in touch and we do talk. The levels of intimacy keep changing, these levels of relationship, but at some point the friendship still remains. And I think that friendship, that solidarity really makes a difference in each other’s lives. That’s why we need to care more about each other. Even if we are kind of like writing letters like the way, we do sometimes. I try to do that even with people I have photographed. That is important for me at least.

 

 

 

I just wanted to share that, looking at your work, how much I feel that you stayed with them, how much you stayed with the people in the photographs, that you shared your presence with them.

 

 

 

I think that too also has kind of different experience because I would not say that while I try to photograph and know everyone over time it;s not always possible from a more logistical point of view. So, when I first did this I was actually not staying in the city, I was going to the school upstate but I didn’t study photography. It’s a whole different story I had a scholarship to study something else but anyway, I used to make trips to different parts of America. Mostly like parts in Ohio, some parts in Pennsylvania, some parts in New York. I used to actually couch surf but also like in a way that would be putting myself in a position of anonymity. Because I would not have met that person before, you know? And it was sometimes risky but it was like a game, I feel. It was in the earlier days of 2017 to 2018, and a little bit of 2019 that I kind of did that way. So, that was the intitial way how I started this.

 

Over time some relationships developed and I was able to get deeper into trying to understand some people. It has been a mix of knowing them over time and some people more spontaneously because I know I would not be meeting them again. But whatever the moments where I tried to give it my everything to understand their lives.

 

 

 

No that’s what I actually meant. Not really in terms of time duration. But in bearing a moment. To me, what comes across more is how they surrendered themselves to you. You could just see that in that moment they also needed what you brought.

 

I just wanted to say also that it’s so nice to listen to you. I mean you write so well and even if I do like words so much, a lot can be lost or misread without the voice. And though I’m more articulate in writing, recently I’ve also been enjoying letting myself not really know the right thing to say, or the right thing to ask.

 

 

 

Wait, I think there is something wrong. I missed what you said.

 

 

 

Are you okay? I don’t have much questions left. I’m sorry I’m being bad at this. I think I really just wanted to talk about how difficult it actually is to stay in touch. Not just in the physical sense, but that you don’t know how you’ll find a person the next time you see them. And you wrote about it too, how some stay, some fade away. And I problematise this a lot. I’m not succeeding at it.

 

 

 

Yeah it’s something that I wrote in that statement which I sent to you. It was literal, but also the very fact that it is also the impossibility of holding on to certain things in life. That’s a more existential level maybe. But yeah, it had both these meanings, when I said that, some stay and some fade away, it’s basically that. As much as you try, people are also like sand you know.

 

 

 

the way you and I are

 

 

 

Thats true….sometimes your words break down, because of my connection, I think. No, it’s like we are half way across the world from both parts.

 

 

 

maybe I’ll ask the last question now. thank you for bearing with me. i know I’m not really at my best right now. but, I really do wanted to ask why you think we ask people to look.

 

 

 

Sorry, did you say why we ask people to look?

 

 

yeah

 

 

Oh my god that’s the most difficult question for the last

 

 

 

i mean we do either push or run away from people but then we also come back with our hands full and essentially kind of say, hey, look what i have,

look what i’ve made.

 

 

 

 

I feel this totally..I think that’s just also like one of the things that we both resonate on, this very fact. I think I have also talked about this in the past to you. As much as we try to be independent, we know that we are all part of the same kind of structures, without which we cannot survive. Be it as artists, be it as human beings.

 

That is pretty much why we still need that way to kind of push people to look at our work in that way. And we are helpless, this is perhaps one of the greatest conflicts that I always go through. Even now I am not really a person who would send work to people or stuff like that. I barely do that. It’s just now, over time, I am realising that you have to say yes to some of the situations where people have to kind of look at your work and say things about it. Good or bad doesn’t matter, you have to get people to talk.

 

But I think as long as we are just being sincere and giving our everything to whatever we feel the most about. I think that is most important for me. Art for me also is something that should be about this certain sense of collaboration, this certain sense of belonging towards each other.

 

And to do that it’s not necessary that we always have to like ask big people or institutions. But more like start things at an individual level, what we are doing toward each other? And can we collaborate with each other? Which is more important for me. And I am trying to do that more. Here also. It’s not just people who are from great backgrounds or something. That is one way we can stay free but eventually we are all being conditioned by the same systems.

 

 

 

actually I wasn’t even thinking of systems or institutions. i was just thinking of another person. Like for example, your work, there’s so much pain, even if there’s so much love also. And then I’m thinking of that impulse, that impulse or need to tell someone,

i’m in pain

 

.

 

 

 

Yeah. That I do in a sense that I think it’s more about writing or sharing with people you love. And sometimes you just do it out of an impulse. Like you want someone to react to your life, or to your art in some way. And you want that person to be part of your journey.

 

Like taking out all these institutions or systems, or whatever it is, but just at an individual level, just wanting someone to be a part of your journey. It is difficult but it has to be done also.

 

 

 

and it’s about wanting to exist as well, to see yourself existing.

 

 

Probably, yeah, that’s true.

 

 

sorry for my weird questions

 

 

 

You can ask as many questions… I don’t think I am very good at it… It depends, sometimes I try to be precise, but sometimes I deviate a lot. In our mediums of exchange of conversation, it’s also very limited rather than when we meet face to face, there is a different level of interaction that can happen. And here we are bounded by wi-fi connection, headphones, speakers…. that may or may not work always. So I try to condense as much as I can, for your questions.

 

 

 

no I’m also a bit apologetic for being intrusive. I don’t have anything much left to ask actually. Just if you wanted to say something more, I was actually interested about what do you think care would look like, or should look like in the art world?

 

 

 

I think that’s a very difficult question…I don’t think like I would have a precise… like I said if you are thinking about the art world or something. That’s what you meant right, care in the art world?

 

 

yeah

 

 

 

I recently I remember I shared this interview with you also, the one where I collaborated with a writer from here. She is a trans writer. What I am trying to kind of go for is the fact that I am trying to build this kind of collaborative practice with people. Where it’s not just really about my photographs, or it’s not just about their words, but it’s more about an exchange. Because I think this would be like the greatest way of changing for the better. And caring for each other is how and when we share our experiences through whatever mediums we feel comfortable in. So when images and words or images and videos, moving images, still images, they kind of like coalesce together, connect together from different perspectives and points of view, it can really give rise to something else, that we have seen even in Angkor or just in general.

 

And that for me is care, when we kind of look after each other in the art world without giving into so much of the noise or the logic of individual publications or exhibitions or whatever. Though that is important too, because we are in this world together, and there is no way out, unfortunately at this point. But we have to think about situations that are more micro level actually. Think about each other and where we are coming from our individual experiences. Only then we can give rise to something more. I think at this point especially when it comes to moving image or photography it’s no longer just some sort of an individual effort like writing with words, where you can just sit back at your home and write stuff. Which is also great. But with photography and writing when it combines together it really gives rise to something else. Because it’s a different story that we tell.

 

Care is very difficult while it should be something that we should have done a long time ago, we only realise it after we lose people and especially in the light of the pandemic and whatever has happened. Now we realise that we need to look after each other, you know. But this should have been a very basic human trait. It’s not something that rises suddenly. It should have always been there especially in the art world. But we did find it lacking, and I believe that eventually we will be getting better and growing together.

 

 

 

i just wanted to share, you know how I was telling you about the book idea that I had? It was called

Look after each other

 

.

 

 

 

It will happen. I remember recently a friend of mine from here. He is much younger. I am 28 right now, he is just 23 -24. He was kind of interested in doing this interview. I think that was for his school photography project. Where he was actually selecting works but pairing it with the “why’s” and “how’s” of why people have been photographing. He also did a zoom session with me. Then his mother fell sick and stuff. But that’s why I kind of supported him, I try to support people like me, where we are trying to do things. Both as a collaborative practice so we can always like look out for each other no matter how difficult life is.

 

 

 

i wanted to share something that I recently heard. I was watching this show and there was a mother talking to her daughter and she was saying that each person’s kindness is handmade, and that because of that it’s easy to misunderstand, or be thought of as fake. she also said kindness is your heart trying to grow.

 

 

 

I like this idea also. Sometimes you know like if you look at movie stills, not moving images, certain moments are so interesting. I don’t exactly recall who did it, but there was a friend from back home who kind of used to make montages of different movie stills with connecting quotes like the subtitles that you have in english. But it also kind of creates a story of someone’s life and that is also very interesting because when you look at movie stills you will find those emotions are frozen in time. So it’s a very interesting way to talk about stories and life. And I think recently I looked at this photographer’s work which I think he is from Philippines, but I forgot his name.

 

 

 

geloy

 

?

 

 

 

Yeah! He has been doing it with the archives, and then mixing up with the texts of people who have gone through situations. I feel that is so powerful.

 

 

 

i didn’t have a camera and he gave me his camera. so I am really grateful to him.

 

 

 

Yeah, he is amazing. And that kind of made me feel you know? I feel that work is something that gives hope. For me when I look at those words that people write, especially on this mysterious archival images, I realise that it’s not just me or you, who are just suffering. A lot of people are and they are in pain. And this pain needs to be addressed. And the more we address it we also kind of relieve ourselves from it. And we kind of grow also from there.

 

 

 

or even just to acknowledge it by saying, I believe in you. By saying you believe the person.

 

 

 

Yeah… exactly.

 

 

 

but the challenge is to slow down

 

 

 

That is also something that bothers me. If you look at Instagram or just in general, people are always like what new project or what new work are you doing? This and that.

 

 

 

it has become kind of like a CV thing. It used to be more personal.

 

 

 

Yeah… I sometimes kind of joke to my friends here it’s becoming more like Amazon production factory or something where we keep on producing work. It’s alright to take your time. Right now I have to survive here.

 

I was literally in a very bad situation for like a couple of months. So I took up like a service kind of basic pay job. And I also get time to photograph but not maybe in the same logic that I used to in the past. But this is just for this time. The idea is to not think so much and just be open toward experiences in life. It’s not always that I have to get to this show or something.

 

 

 

it’s better I think…because then whatever you’ll make next, it’ll come from life. It won’t just be a project.

 

 

 

That is something that some people have told me, you know in the end perhaps life is just one project in itself and you always have these different chapters in it. Of course we have like different commitments, if you are supposed to cover a protest, or war or a fight, that is also part of our lives. But in the end it’s just one. It’s just how we look at it and how we decide to add meaning to it.

 

 

 

yeah… and it’ll also show what you paid attention to

 

 

 

We all are just trying to find ways to survive, basically. I think there would not have been any sort of desire within us to actually pursue and create if there was no longer this tension. This fight to survive and struggle. So it’s all good… If I start to think about it this way, it’s all good.

 

 

 

thank you for speaking to me, for struggling with me. i am not very professional.

 

 

Even I am not very professional.

 

 

no you’ve been so much better. I feel a bit embarrassed for being too personal.

 

 

 

No, I like people who are more personal other than just touching the surface of things you know. But I hope that I have been able to add meaning to your efforts. I think I forgot to ask you what exactly was your idea with these interviews and things that you wanted to do?

 

 

 

it’s because Angkor is trying to post the work again online. I didn’t want to just release it as the same thing.

 

 

 

Yeah. That makes complete sense.

 

 

 

and also because I didn’t want to just run away from everyone. I wanted to find a way to return somehow. To not just write all of those things about care and not do the difficult part of caring, which is being present and returning, finding a way to stay in touch.

 

 

 

This is something that, when I look at your work you have very touching, moving image pieces. You know like moving – From the past I was looking, I am really fascinated by the moving image. Perhaps it’s also like some sort of a fear in me that I am not venturing into that territory. But maybe eventually I will. It’s just something that perhaps expands the horizons of how we can interpret our situations in life.

 

 

 

you have time. You can stay longer. As it was in the beginning, I’m convincing you to stay longer.

 

 

 

I feel it’s the most important thing to us which we do with a certain innocence. That’s all that matters. Doesn’t have to be some perfect embodiment or something or whatever. It’s just doing something with innocence and our own sincerity and clarity. Which I still don’t know where I am at that point in life but I am trying. We are all trying.

 

 

 

how do you make grant people remember to value innocence?

 

 

 

As long as we are doing something with our own honesty and I would say, like an extension of our own lives. That’s it. Everything else let the people decide whatever will happen or not happen.

 

 

 

it will be a loss if I didn’t ask what you want to do.

 

 

 

Wait. Did you ask what do you want to be?

 

 

well, maybe…I was asking like, what do you want to work on?

 

 

For my next move?

 

 

in general, or in life.

 

 

Oh! Generally. That a very difficult question.

 

 

sorry, I only have difficult questions

 

 

Yeah…I mean in that sense, is it on an existential level?

 

 

you can just see how much I don’t talk to people because these are the questions I have

 

 

 

I know… I understand because I wouldn’t have a specific answer to this. I mean I would say that I want to be a photographer or move into filmmaking, or make moving images, but that answer is also very predictable and easy… in that sense we will all become that eventually.

 

At a greater level if I think I would say that the immediate thing for me is to go past the situations of my past life. Go beyond it and try to look at the world in a more hopeful way. Because I think I am sometimes a bit cynical of situations around us given the fact that whatever we are going through. I always think about things like why do people do certain extreme steps because it’s so very personal for me whatever has happened. And I have done some stupid things also in the past. So I am trying to look at the world in a more positive way, that’s one thing. And more importantly I am shooting more colour….

 

If I think about it I would say just being open to life right now and trying to take just one day at a time. Keep surviving, keep fighting. Have new situations, encounters. Find new ways, try to find new forms of the language, that’s like, it. I would not say like I have some real long term goals but that’s pretty much it. Just being open.

 

 

 

thank you

 

 

This is like the most difficult question like what does life mean to you or something like that…

 

 

sorry… these are the things in my head.

 

 

This is what I like too. The ones that you can actually not answer. You don’t have a precise answer to these things. It’s like love, if you ask someone, what does love mean to you, different people will come up with different answers. But we still try in the end and that it’s that effort of reaching some point and getting lost.

 

 

you just try to come close

 

 

That’s true.

 

 

okay. i will leave you to your evening now.

 

 

And I will leave you to your morning. It’s really early there, 6 A.M?

 

 

it’s 7:30. thank you so much and it has been very lovely to talk to you.

 

 

Same here. You know we have been going through a lot of emails but we never talked.

 

 

i hope I didn’t bring too much of the dark side

 

 

No, no… I feel light now…

 

 

when you’re old and you are the one in the panel to decide, I hope you remember to value innocence.

 

 

I am in a panel? Oh my god! That’s a joke…

 

 

please select the nice guys, the soft ones.

 

 

Oh yeah. We could talk about that some other day.

 

 

thank you. goodbye

 

 

Yeah. Goodbye.