Bangladesh, Ruben, Culpeper Culpeper Chuck Norris Indigenous discussed on B&H Photography Podcast
Question. Russian that has slightly do this These newspapers traditional even online news agencies are are the most effective way still For underrepresented stories to be told you spoke about a show at a mosque and You have a museum and obviously there many now uh nontraditional. Let's say ways to get images out there even a poster on a street that somebody carrying. Do you think that the were kind of over this this kind kind of the mass. Let's say mass journalism Is it still effective is still useful for the types of stories that you want to tell. I don't think there is one answer. I I think that in itself is what needs to. You need to take every situation and work best to it. And I think we need that plurality. Not You know. The online space. Is the traditional spaces social media word of mouth. All of that are valid Some but better in certain situations than others I I work in an environment where let's say in Bangladesh for instance. The printed newspaper is still increasing circulation. which is exactly the opposite of what's happening out here and it will change? There will be a time when that will shift but until it does I will recognize the imminent. Will your photos or photos of your colleagues that you respect who are working in these these stories. Will they find their way into into a Bangladeshi newspaper. That will depend very much upon what what how we've arranged to it because some of of it is not even about the newspaper. This you may know of this various famous Pulitzer winning picture of Michelle Laura of the banning of the Biharis in Bangladesh. Now Russia Talukdar. One of our photographers also took a very strong picture that time he never published it because publishing it would be equivalent to signing his own death warrant. The people who did the banting was still very much in control. It was only in Nineteen ninety-three three twenty two years later. I was able to convince him that it was now safe to publish that picture. So those are part of what happens you you know you. You need to negotiate that space. But I think one of the things where we have lost out as photography's we to solarge extent have felt that the photograph images all there is to it. I think many other things happen to happen. Be Around contextualising. It is important. I I think it's vital that photography writers I think we I still retailers need to find multiple ways of telling stories of engaging and once we're able to do that our work then becomes so much more usable by by the media itself. It's when it's a uni-polar in a Polish single image standing on its own it has limited potential when we were at the museum earlier. EU brought up Sunday. It was kind of interesting where you will be putting a show in a mosque. And you're getting a lot of pushback about that and the way you explained things to them change these things around. Can you go over that again. Because I thought that was very amazingly very tactically us will I I live and work in Bangladesh where many many people think fed graphs are haram. You know For instance if there's a funeral the photographs will be turned a ten round because it's not considered proper for photographs to be there in religious situation. I had chosen synagogues and churches and temples at never shown in a mosque. Because was it was considered impossible to and I'm very conscious off Islamaphobia of xenophobia and the perceptions about Islam and I want to dress that at the same time I also wanted places like musk's to become known for what their true the potential is So the first challenge was convincing the mosque that I can show work in it. It's a very beautiful must by the way at one dollar kind of what your tech Designed by a woman land is to mate donated by her grandmother so those elements to it as well And I took photographs but before he nice started taking photographs. I spoke to the mosque committee until them why I wanted to do it and I reminded them mm of how Prophet Mohammad had used his. Musk the fact that his mosque in Medina was an education center. A Cultural Center into a community center A hospital it sheltered women met state dignitaries in the mosque but there it was an art troupe from Abyssinia who came and said to the Prophet where can be show. We have no place to show our work and he said show it. In My mosque it became a gallery. If during the prophets time ago a musket have such a wonderfully diverse range of usage. Why have you reduced? And it's not just for true from us. It's true of places of prayer. In a sense I think religion and has been reduced to very clinical actions about which have to do with praying and proselytizing and older set of things whereas it is part out of human life and be forgotten that so that is a show. I'm now trying to show. Wildest Ruben shows going on perhaps in moss around the country speaking of the show. Can we talk a little bit about that. And how you organize that you mentioned that It is organized as a kind of trilogy. Is that true or really one show within within not aspect. I mean it. I don't know if it's what I expected. Necessarily the whole show. I mean there's kind of a retrospective aspect But there's also you're dealing with certain particular stories within this. Can you talk a little bit about a couple of those The Ruben show it's billed as a retrospective. There's only so much you can show so there. There are significant chapters which are not there for instance crossfire. But what we've tried to do a a two things. One is look at the trajectory of my attempt for social justice which is underpinned underpins the entire show but also the various vocabularies that I've tried to us from traditional black and white photo repertoire as Magnum and other agencies would have done to find out conceptual chill work and places where I've ensured that the politics of my work is embedded within the artwork itself because one of the things that had happened happened in the very first body of work which I did which is called the struggle for democracy I was looking at politics The resistance to generally shot and there is a sequence of pictures which are about a flood that take place it was them biggest flooding in a century. An juxtaposed without is these are the photographs of wedding a hugely opulent wedding. That had taken place. It was the daughter very powerful minister now. The juxtaposition the position made it very stock. Here was this wedding taking place out of time with the nation is really under those floods That made it difficult because that was what scared off my sponsors versa and I stopped getting out. None of the galleries would be prepared to show the work. So that ah led to a whole different set of things towards you a lesson yes we built gallery. You know. It's it's looked at politics with appea- but also Class divides gender shoes environmental issues military occupation a whole range of things but covered. It did not work but later on I've looked at things like disappearance Be talked about the crossfire. Show the The show about the culpeper culpeper Chuck Norris Indigenous. A woman who was picked up at the military on the twelfth of June nineteen. Ninety six works for me was very significant because we had fought our war for the right to speak our language yet within our own nation. Be Denying other people to speak. There's that for me would so staggering. The word indigenous is something that cannot be used. It's is being banned by our Constitution. You cannot use the word indigenous in English so I began on the twelfth of June two thousand thirteen gene and the next two years on the twelfth of June producing a new body of work. The first body I did was using forensic technology technology to look look at what I considered the silent witnesses so I collected objects along the path of a last journey and photograph in the clarify. This was the young woman who was disappeared. She she was. She was picked up by the military on the night of the twelfth of June nineteen ninety six and what was her offense. She was an activist. She wanted rights for her people. Okay a so on. The investigation is still ongoing going. I thought well if you've got to do an investigation. What do you do right at the beginning? You do the forensic study the words of bungalows like me and the military were taken into account for the Bihari Voices. Whenever heard so? I thought I would interrogate the silent. Witnesses and it's. It's work that I did in initially in Bangladesh than in Britain Germany eventually in Australia And produce those High magnification images through fluorescent photography. I then did other body of work where I tried to show the person and we were talking earlier on about how you felt that there was actually a person then Dan yes I still WANNA go back. I'm I'm convinced there was somebody. I don't care what you see. On the next body of work was about the champions Champions of culpable the people who've carried on the fight which includes my partner which includes Sara Hussain. WHO's the lawyer who who stood up for me one of his jail on CIDER gourock again? Someone who I've been working with for a long time class. What sorry to interrupt up at the the motivation to take on this story in this manner with the forensic photography styling was as something that you felt was born from the story itself or was it something that you said you know what I this is something? I'd like to do as a photographer. I'd like to investigate in this terms and use a different set of skills. Well my my partner actually asked me a very pertinent question She said let me ask you a silly question. Isn't it all in the imagination you say. Of course it was in my imagination but I felt through that imagination. I could unlock some doors. AUSE and there were two things I wanted to do. One point out that the process of investigation was flawed seriously flawed. But also. Here's a person and there are no photographs of this woman This has happened at when I was doing the work had happened. What Sixteen years ago seventeen years ago you know. What am I going to photograph seventeen years after the event and I thought there are still people? There are still objects that can speak to me and of course as a photographer. I need something visual so I need to find a visual way of rendering story story. So that's how I began then. I thought the other challenges we need to bring her live. This is a woman who is flesh and blood who was picked away taken away from us..