In the world’s crowded metropolises, or in rural areas where conflict reigns, the complexity of human relationships is rooted in individual psychologies. A reality translated into images by Bas Losekoot and Azaan Shah, our readers picks #341.
“How do we present ourselves in the street? Do we really reveal who we are, or are we hiding something from others and ourselves?”
This question is at the heart of Bas Losekoot’s visual research. With Out of Place, and since 2011, the Dutch photographer has been travelling the world’s metropolises to study human behaviour in the world’s most densely populated cities. New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, London, Lagos, Istanbul and Mexico City – all become huge, tumultuous theatres where human tensions crystallise. “I photograph people in order to really see them, to study small gestures indicative of something meaningful about the person and the contemporary urban experience”, the artist tells us. Using a fast shutter speed and a powerful flash, Bas Losekoot brings his studio to the street to freeze fractions of life in urban landscapes. And from his dramatic settings, an infinity of human relationships emerges.
© Bas Losekoot
Based in Kashmir, photographer Azaan Shah creates documentary works tainted with an obscure mysticism. “Life is like earth moving on the axis. You keep moving yet you don’t dislocate”, he explains. In Hiraeth, the artist features nostalgic images that deal with a certain homesickness – a sense of not belonging. From his immersions he gathers uncertain scenes of life, where interpretation is always double-edged. His images, first dark and terrifying, then subtly appear as calm and fragile glimmers of hope. “The rotation of life, from one nest to another, casts a flicker of dark and bright”, he says. Intertwined in intense black and white compositions, these many nuances reveal the complex realities aligning before the artist’s lens, which then reflect in his mind. With a style close to new documentary, the photographer captures those who find salvation in the Sufi shrines of his adopted region – administered by India and ravaged by war. As a spiritual and mystical path of Islam, Sufism presents itself as a safe-haven in a land of conflict and suffering. A fracture showcased in Azaan Shah’s delicate shots. Hiraeth portrays the outside world as a visual reflection of a spiritual malaise.
© Azaan Shah
Cover picture: © Azaan Shah