Artist Statement

I started photography midway through college, as something auxiliary to my political science and philosophy education. However, photography quickly turned into the primary focus of my education. It became a sort of intellectual glue, a way of connecting and bonding ideas. It became more than just art:  it became my way of processing the world. Photography allowed a certain kind of freedom from the normal social constraints. I could walk up to strangers with a camera, speak with them at ease, and photograph them. It also allowed a freedom of seeing:  looking through the viewfinder of a camera was like peering into the noumenal realm; nothing was taken for granted and everything had a certain importance and validity. There are a series of ongoing themes and concepts that I have become increasingly important in my work.

I am interested in memory and how people remember, but not in the tradition sense. What interests me is the larger collective memory, one that deals with the loss in which I have a share. It is when we stand to lose things that the way we remember becomes especially poignant. Furthermore, there is something in the ruins of memories that not only enhances the current ones, that makes the present or recent memories more precious, but grants the ruins more clout as well.

Another central theme in my work is surveillance of the mundane. By injecting a camera into the overlooked banal areas in our everyday life, such as a simple act of buying something from a store, it yields personal images as if I were glimpsing private realms. It is strange, paradoxical almost, to see people unguarded and, in a sense, in their own world, in everyday situations and spaces.

Overall, photography for me has become an obsession, a passion, a way of life. Pointing the lens outwards has been introspectively illuminating. It has helped me make understand and process key ideas that have become increasingly important to me and my work; such as the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the commonplace and how do the historical, cultural, and religious aspects converge onto the commonplace and affect, shape, and change it?  Specifically how does history or historical accounts permeate into a people’s consciousness, get resolved with other sometimes conflicting accounts, and sometimes fade away?  And how does this all manifest itself visually into the everyday? Also, what implications does surveilling the mundane have on not only the things I look at but at how I look at them? As an artist I’m always thinking about these questions and trying to make sense of them with my work.

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