Touch

January 27, 2009

intimacy

I held my father’s hand before pushing him into the furnace. That’s the last memory I have of him, a touch.
Sometime near the end, I realised that I have to clutch on to a single memory of him. Yes, there were memories of events, and conversations, and places and people, but over time they fade, there had to be something very particular, and defined, that I could keep forever. I decided to remember how it felt to hold his hand, the warmth of his shawl as he held me in his arms, the prickle of his stubble against my cheek, and the scalding heat of the hand that slapped my face.
Of the five sense we have, i believe the sense of touch is best remembered. Yes we do remember the taste, the smell, the sound too, but often we seem to recognize them when we come across similar senses many years later, but to remember, to imagine, at will, its the touch that remains.

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400

January 16, 2009

Ok, so DTE turned 400 in January. When it began, in 1992, no one gave it more than a few issues to survive…

I joined in 2002, and apart from a year and a bit of break in between, it’s been a fun ride. First a photograper, then a designer. It’s a great place to learn and grow, if you want to.

Our editor has written a piece on why this magazine. Read it if you have the time

Meanwhile, here’s an advert is designed for the 400th issue

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and this one’s to announce the launch of the e-magazine, not yet approved, it’s at a ‘beta’ stage, the poster that is:

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you must check it out here (incase you cant figure it out, take the mouse to the bottom right corner of the magazine to turn the page), and subscribe too

The old DTE website will soon get a make over too, we’ll be hosting fresh new stories, not found in the print version. So that will be fun. And we have an exhibiton lied up for early Feb. More on that later. All this to celebrate 400 issues of common sense. So celebrate, subscribe, and get others to subscribe 🙂

Roger Ballen Photographer

January 16, 2009

ballen

A review of the recent works by Roger Ballen, by Jim Casper. I liked both, the picture and the review so much, that it’s reproduced in full here. Thank you LensCulture (visit for more images, and an audio interview with Ballen):

I find the photographs of Roger Ballen to be both beautiful and profoundly disturbing. This combination keeps me coming back to them, to look more carefully.

Ballen’s photographs are beautiful because of the richness of light, the abundance of textures, the surreal archetypal imagery and dream-like juxtapositions. They are complex pictures, exquisitely composed, printed to near-perfection — and almost always they hold some tension that lingers long after the first gaze.

The work is disturbing to me because it usually depicts some variation of social-psychological-mental squalor and physical abandonment and disrepair. His photos bring up the same kind of queasy (but oddly pleasing) feeling I get when I see actors on a desolate stage-set in a play by Samuel Beckett. The human and animal players in his scenes seem lost, confused, dumbfounded, and stuck in some perverse reality. The action feels private and primitive. Ballen’s use of bright flash lighting heightens the sense of voyeurism or exposé that we have come to love in the work of Weegee and Diane Arbus.

The images are obviously staged, but they are troubling in their brutal raw reality. Ballen uses recurring themes and props: wire, shadows, dirty feet, soiled bed sheets, filthy walls, boxes with rough holes cut out, crude drawings cover many surfaces. Junk is piled on junk. People and animals are in awkward, dangerous and absurd positions.

It would be easier to swallow if we could think of the characters as models or actors, following stage directions.  But very many of these images seem too real. The characters look like they are really strung  out on the far edges of ordinary life.

Ballen has been accused of exploitation, coercion, manipulation and other bad things. He has also been praised as one of the best photographer-artists of our day.

Kumaon cameo 2: The cast

January 9, 2009

They don’t make them kids like they used to. Long drives are nauseating, mountains are a drag, and really what’s there to see in this world anyways…but I still love ’em

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All I Really Want To Do

January 8, 2009

A funny thing happened, and sad.  I tried to make a friend. It’s been a while since I did that. Don’t know why, but I had never felt the need to. I’m happy always with nothing ever happening.  Snug in the comfort of the status quo, I suddenly sat up and noticed.

Haven’t felt this way in a long time.  It’s a mix of many feelings,  joy, fear, excitement, worry, apprehension, embarrassment, confusion, stupidity, nervousness, relief, freedom, wonder, curiousity, expectation…yeah, there are shades of all these, and a few more I haven’t been able to define, or put a tag to.

So, I said what I felt. Didn’t know what I was doing, or where I was headed. Shut eyes and waited.

I was misunderstood, thanked for being inspiring and a nice guy.  I was never understood. It’s funny, because I couldn’t have been clearer with my thoughts. Maybe the gap is too wide, generations apart, to fill with a few simple words.

Well atleast I wasn’t slapped. Though I might, one day soon…

Bob kinda said it the best, exactly my feelings
…I don’t want to straight-face you,
Race or chase you, track or trace you,
Or disgrace you or displace you,
Or define you or confine you….

Kumaon cameo

January 7, 2009

I reached Kathgodam on a chilly winter morning. It was a beautiful day. Then I discovered that I had left my camera battery at home. Completely washed out, depressed, I  managed to carry myself through the day shooting video from a crummy handycam. Next day, I figured, my brother’s camera battery was a perfect match for mine, and I actually did get to shoot sometimes. So here’s a few pictures from those sometimes…

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