Is photography an act of enlightenment? I’m an artist, photographer, yogini, and meditator, currently based in Brooklyn, NY, and I’m taking my P-Sharan SQ-35 pinhole camera to India & Nepal to uncover the answer.
Follow the link to check out the Kickstarter for “Travel From The Heart” and support the project! http://kck.st/Wsuru3
The P-Sharan SQ-35 and I first met in a department store in Osaka, Japan. “A pinhole camera that uses film? Awesome!” I thought. I’d played around with creating my own pinhole camera out of a speaker box in college. It was for an “alternative processes” class and we used photographic paper as negatives. I really loved the basic concept of creating images with such simplicity, but loading paper and creating prints was pretty inconvenient and unrealistic to travel with. With the P-Sharan I had found the best of both worlds- convenience and mobility.
It was great to build the cardboard camera from the kit myself, and I began experimenting immediately. I loved how, in contrast to the speed of digital photo, working with just a pinhole dramatically slowed down the photographic process and opened up the creative process. It pushed me to contemplate the subject more fully, and I really felt as if I could connect with the landscape in a more profound way. Keeping these discoveries in mind, I developed a plan for my next journey to Brazil.
I decided I would cross-process the film for intense color saturation. True color reproduction was not a concern. I wanted to create sultry images that reflected the intensity of the city I was visiting- Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Working with film in a pinhole camera allows you to play around with extended or multiple exposures and film advancement. It’s awesome because often the surprises are better than anything you could ever plan. I scan the negatives myself to prepare them for large-scale prints, so before a month long trip through Europe, I decided to bring the Holga 120 pinhole camera with me in order to start with larger negatives.
I always think of creating photographs as if I’m painting with light. I scan the landscape to select the colors, shapes, and textures of my compositions. Intersections of diverse formal elements and tiny, often disregarded details capture my attention and propel me to record an image. The photographs are minimalist compositions that reflect the lyricism of the ordinary and commonplace. They’re also records of intimate, open-ended dialogues between myself and the landscape.
The entire process requires opening up and giving in to what’s at hand. It brings about a meditative state of bliss when you allow yourself to become completely absorbed in the act of seeing. I started thinking more and more about how closely related the act of photography was to actual meditation when I moved back to New York and actually began meditating. Then came the dreams about returning to India again and creating a new pinhole project there. Now the plan is set, and the P-Sharan and I are taking off to visit the four sacred sites of Buddhism in India & Nepal.
When you feast your eyes on a beautiful photograph you’re taken away to a different place. How often are you inspired by what you see to pack your bags and discover the adventure for yourself?
Please check out the video for “Travel From the Heart”, and spread the word!
Your support is critical to the success of the project, and you’ll become a part of the creative process!