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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heresies in photography

'Heresies: a retrospective by Pedro Meyer' is a photographic exhibition which simultaneously is going on in nearly 60 museums and art galleries all over the world. Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer is considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary photography. This founder and president of Mexican School of Photography is known for his provocative messages conveyed through his work. The exhibition shows his change in style with development of new technologies, as revolutionised the world of documentary photography. His provocative styles and digitally manipulated photographs has enabled him to break away from the orthodox styles of the documentary photography that he originally followed before the advent of digital technology in the early 90's. This has earned him the name 'Heretic', and this retrospective exhibition is called 'Heresies' in order to honour the contributions made by him in the development of digital photography. 'The Last Time I Was With You' is a spine tingling and very evocative piece of work which depicts the passing away of a lover or a spouse. The focus of the photograph is a white bedsheet on the floor of a bedroom, covering what maybe a corpse adorned by four candle stands. After the immediate absorption of the implication passes, the next thing that draws the attention is the bed for two. The latter helps to come to the conclusion that the deceased was someone who was very intimate with the photographer. Another photograph that leaves a lasting impression is a the one called 'Heretic'. The black and white photograph portrays a man with unkempt hair and beard and with a mask-like wire contraption covering his face. This may well be a self-portrait in alignment with his nickname 'Heretic'. His work reflects the social and political turmoil of the countries he photographed in the context of that time. Although, most of the photographs were taken in Mexico, many of them were taken outside Mexico. One such photograph is called 'The Survival of the Fittest', taken in China, and is one of the contemporary pieces. It shows overpopulated koi fish in water, all trying to swim and survive within the confinement of the crowdedness. This may well be reflecting the current situation in China where people are trying to survive and at the end the strongest ones will emerge as the successful ones. There are two photographs taken in Bangladesh, and one of them is a photograph of a rickshaw seat decorated with the recently popularised rickshaw art. The other one is a black-and-white photograph of a toddler held in her mother's arms with big pearly white eyes and bead necklace around her neck, and is called 'Little Pearls'. It is evident from the photograph that the toddler comes from a very poor background in Bangladesh. The unknowing and unfocused eyes that are not looking at anything in particular is in contrast to the kind of hardship that awaits her in the future in her state of poverty. It touches anyone's heart and overwhelms them with the thought of all the issues that plague our country. The exhibition will remain open from 3:00pm to 8:00pm till October 20 at Drik Gallery in city's Dhanmondi area.
(Weekly Holiday-21.10.2008)

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