Darjeeling voyeur

May 11, 2009


, originally uploaded by surya sen.

click here to view.

A lazy afternoon in a balcony overlooking the Mall Road in Darjeeling. Armed with a 300mm lens.


April 15, 2009

, originally uploaded by surya sen.

Complexion: Grey
Sex: Male.
DOB August 10, 1977
Height: 5.7 1/2″
Weight: 75kg. When last seen.
Hair: Black
Eyes: Dark Brown.
Glasses: No
Birth mark: Large nose, small heart


March 25, 2009


Good or bad, I’m back. It is, as the poster suggests, a hard mix of mostly really old and some new photographs. Have a look at http://www.flickr.com/photos/surya_sen

Morning T

March 17, 2009

Posted by ShoZu

Roger Ballen Photographer

January 16, 2009


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







The face of defeat

December 12, 2008


Joshua Polera. 2nd, Primary Category, Spelling Bee of Canada, Ontario Championship Finals. City Hall, Toronto

“There was no way in hell I could lose if I ran up the wall and broke a beer bottle over my head. In my mind I had won, to me it was done. The guy announced the winner, and he said the other dude’s name. I was sure I had won, but sometimes the bloodiest guy doesn’t win.”
— Cole Manson (Johnny Uta)
2nd, Air Guitar Finals
Sneeky Dees Club, Toronto

In 2nd: The Face of Defeat, Sandy Nicholson documents the competitors who are forgotten about and under-celebrated – the second-place finishers.

Read the review in Lens Culture