Arvind Madhu Dubai, United Arab Emirates
ISOLATION – IN THE LAND OF SANDS
Every square inch of this beautiful planet is highly heterogeneous and evidently unique. Its way beyond comparisons of any sort. We are in the heart of abundant hues and vibes; yet we tend to love this place only dissociated. May be, we subtly believe that we belong here only for a short while. May be, we bond well with our inner self too much that anything external turn insignificant. May be we strongly believe that the outer world and its elements are forever, thus deferring to get connected with them. We connect; not completely. Either as single or as a family, we are isles in this sea of superlatives! We mingle, yet we don’t mix! We are all isolations!
All images were shot with medium format 6×6 film camera
HASSELBLAD 500cm & SWC 903c
Kodak Ektar 100 color film
Arvind Madhu was chosen by photographer Vidhyaa
Laatikkomo’s interview with Arvind Madhu April 7th, 2019
L : Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
A : I am from India, a vast country with various cultures and festivals – a haven for street photographers. I have travelled all across India and to a few Asian countries as well. Currently I am living in Dubai (U.A.E). My photography revolves around people, cultures and landscapes. India has abundance to offer when it comes to photography. A place called VARANASI – one of the oldest cities in India; a spiritual spot in Northern India – for me, it is a connect beyond that. Vibes of that place and depth is something beyond words and its one of the places in my must-visit list every year.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
A : Like every other aspiring photographer of my time, I too have dreamt of a camera on my own during my school days and it took 1 solid year of hard work to get my first camera. We didn’t have film development centers at our place. I had to travel quite a bit distance to the nearest lab and it took multiple visits to get my prints and of course the waiting period was so exciting. After 20 twenty long years I experienced a similar excitement recently when I had to wait for my handmade Pinhole Camera from France. I had to wait almost three months to get it hand and now I realize the worth of lens-less experience. I must say it’s truly liberating from the cumbersome processes of handling lenses, light measurement and various other factors of pure photography.
L: In a recent interview (October 2018, mentioned on your Facebook page) you talk about sharing your ”Analogue Journey” can you tell us a little bit about this journey and what interests you most about the analogue techniques?
A : It looks like a round-trip to me – started with a TLR (twin-lens reflector) camera, then moved on with the tide to digital and finally returned back to analog with a collection of cameras, continuing my exploration. Recently acquired Pinhole Camera is opening new arenas with less of technology and more of creativity. I feel Analog medium literally slows me down to think, understand, conceive and react before a click. Though it is time consuming and the costs involved creating an image compared to digital is high, the experience of handling analogue medium by trying out different formats and creating the images at your own home lab is like a therapy and I thoroughly enjoy that process.
L: You use a variety of different lighting situations and exposure times (natural sun, overcast, interior, as well as high contrast and even lighting) in your photography. Although as a street photographer you cannot control all your surrounding influences, what a kind of lighting do you enjoy working in the most?
A: Natural light is my favorite of all and I have explored only with that so far. Artificial lighting is another big world in photography. I wish I get the opportunity to explore more on that.
L: Your photographs have a certain geometrical quality to them. What qualities do you strive towards? And in general, what makes an image appealing to you?
A: In my compositions I have unintended connecting elements from foreground to background and have geometrical link as well. From a technical point of view I work more with guess focusing, zone focusing options, being fascinated by analogue medium which has limitations compared to models in digital. My personal preference goes with a thin line of mystery combined with a story – that is what I look for in every frame. A story in a frame by itself than explained through words is my ultimate expectation.
L: Photography, and documentary photography in particular, is often a tool for telling stories. Do you have an all encompassing story or message you want to tell with your images?
A: The city of my current living is one of the most glamorous and glorified destinations in the world. Personally I am more drawn towards the flip side of the glossy side. When a city showcases the shiny popular version to the outside world, I am happily documenting the less noticed and isolated stories without human elements.
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
A: The place where I live respects individual privacy which also has stringent regulations in place. Though it confines the photographer in me, in many ways it has offered me differential perspectives to look at life. Current theme Isolation-in the land of sands is an ongoing project – a compilation of frames with a touch of solitude in nature. The seed of thought triggered in relation with the expatriate life in a foreign land which hampers the root and nativity followed by loneliness so on so forth. For various reasons I couldn’t involve human elements and shifted my focus to the surroundings which can fall in line with the same theme.
Thank you so much Arvind!!