Brothers Dar­rell and Oliver Hart­man have cre­ated a win­dow to the un­fa­mil­iar world through pho­tog­ra­phy and film.

NEW YORK BASED BROTHERS DAR­RELL AND OLIVER HART­MAN EX­PLORE THE WORLD’S MOST UN­FA­MIL­IAR PEO­PLE, ENDANGERED CUL­TURES AND RE­MARK­ABLE PLACES THROUGH PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AND FILM.

SHIBUI Issue - - CONTENTS - CURATOR KARINA EASTWAY IN­TER­VIEW WITH DAR­RELL HART­MAN (CO-FOUNDER OF JUNGLES IN PARIS, WEB­SITE EDITOR) PHOTOS CON­TRIB­UTED BY JUNGLES IN PARIS COUN­TRY USA

WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE ARE YOU BASED NOW?

Born in Maine, now based in New York City.

CAN YOU TELL US A LIT­TLE ABOUT JUNGLES IN PARIS WHICH YOU COFOUNDED WITH YOUR BROTHER, OLIVER, IN 2013 – WHAT’S THE PUR­POSE AND PHI­LOS­O­PHY BE­HIND THE PROJECT?

We wanted to show peo­ple a layer of the world that is of­ten over­looked. In aca­demic terms, our fo­cus is largely ge­og­ra­phy and an­thro­pol­ogy. In more emo­tional terms, it’s things that feel au­then­tic and rooted. We tell sto­ries about long­stand­ing cultural tra­di­tions, ways of liv­ing that are in

har­mony with na­ture, re­mark­able wild places and an­i­mal species. My brother was run­ning a com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion com­pany when we founded Jungles, and I was writ­ing mostly for glossy mag­a­zines. We weren’t get­ting out­doors as much as we had when we were kids in Maine. On a more philo­soph­i­cal level I think we started to re­alise that a lot of mod­ern val­ues don’t re­ally speak to us that much. So we wanted to direct more of our men­tal ef­forts, our at­ten­tion, to­wards things that did. We re­ally wanted to ex­plore the sense of place, which is un­der­rated in our hy­per-con­nected global present.

And hav­ing done a lot of work that was com­mer­cial and dis­pos­able, we wanted to show re­spect for the crafts of film­mak­ing, writ­ing, and pho­tog­ra­phy. So we em­pha­sise qual­ity over quan­tity – I think this goes against the grain of a lot of me­dia th­ese days, in­clud­ing in­de­pen­dent and es­pe­cially on­line me­dia. But it’s the only way we could do Jungles and be happy with it.

IT’S A QUIRKY NAME – WHAT’S THE STORY?

We get asked this a lot! It speaks to the idea of a great, wild, un­tamed, un­known world – and hav­ing an en­counter with this world within a cu­rated con­text. It’s also a ref­er­ence to the painter Henri Rousseau, and how he was able to cre­ate a sense of en­chant­ment around for­eign places, de­spite never hav­ing left France.

THE AUTHENTICITY BE­HIND YOUR STO­RY­TELLING RE­ALLY RES­ONATES THROUGH THE SCREEN: IS A FEEL­ING OF REAL CON­NEC­TION SOME­THING WE’VE LOST IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

It’s nice to hear that! I do think that sense of dis­con­nec­tion is a symp­tom of 21st century ex­is­tence. It’s not just that so much of our lives is me­di­ated

– if that were the be­gin­ning and end of it, then cre­at­ing more me­dia would def­i­nitely not be the so­lu­tion! But I think our brains are spin­ning too fast for their own good, on a cultural level. The pace of change, the end­less buf­fet of in­for­ma­tion and en­ter­tain­ment op­tions, the as­sump­tion that there is an au­di­ence out there weigh­ing in on every pass­ing thing we see, hear, and feel – all th­ese el­e­ments of dig­i­tal life have fun­da­men­tally al­tered the way many of us ex­ist on this planet. One of the most detri­men­tal of th­ese changes has been on our abil­ity to con­cen­trate, fo­cus, en­ter the flow of the mo­ment, what­ever you want to call it. Mean­while, global cul­tures are be­com­ing more ho­moge­nous.

All th­ese tra­di­tions that might help us see our way out of this down­ward spi­ral are dis­ap­pear­ing in a frenzy of devel­op­ment, Western­i­sa­tion, and so on.

CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU TO RECORD SUB­JECT MAT­TER THAT MAY SOON BE EXTINCT? DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE RUN­NING OUT OF TIME?

There is some sense of ur­gency. I feel like eco­log­i­cally, we are run­ning out of time as a species to make things right, to fore­stall catas­tro­phe. And as­sum­ing things keep going the way they are – growth over sus­tain­abil­ity, ‘ca­pa­bil­i­ties’ over wis­dom, etc. – then this chap­ter of global civil­i­sa­tion will not end well. With re­gard to ex­tinc­tion, I don’t think I have as keen or as per­sonal a sense of what it means as per­haps an an­thro­pol­o­gist or a bi­ol­o­gist would.

Or, of course, as some­one whose own cul­ture is fac­ing it.

WHICH STORY HAS RE­ALLY STRUCK A PER­SONAL CHORD WITH YOU AND STUCK WITH YOU OVER THE YEARS?

As editor I am in­volved in all the sto­ries we pub­lish, but to vary­ing de­grees. So when a story strikes a chord with me it’s of­ten be­cause I was more in­volved in its pro­duc­tion – think­ing about what to fo­cus on and what the im­ages might look like; meet­ing the peo­ple we filmed; wor­ried about how it would end up, and so on. In this re­gard our short doc­u­men­tary about Vi­enna cof­fee­houses has stuck with me. I just love the fact that th­ese places have stayed es­sen­tially the same over the years. They are liv­ing relics, win­dows into the past. They’re for con­vivi­al­ity or soli­tude. My im­pres­sion is that the Vi­en­nese have as­so­ci­ated the kaf­fee­haus with their daily rou­tines more than other cul­tures have. And be­cause th­ese spa­ces are un­fa­mil­iar, (at least to a non-Aus­trian), they pro­voke us into think­ing about how we might live our own lives dif­fer­ently.

THE DOC­U­MEN­TARY-STYLE STO­RIES YOU TELL THROUGH PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AND FILM ARE ROOTED IN TRADITION YET HAVE A TIMELESS, ETHEREAL NA­TURE TO THEM. HOW IS THAT FEEL­ING CRE­ATED?

The ob­vi­ous an­swer is that we don’t have to force it – the sub­jects we choose are things that have en­dured for many years, of­ten in the same place. I sup­pose we also try to tap

into a slower rhythm. To an ex­tent we re­ject the aes­thet­ics of ad­ver­tis­ing and so­cial me­dia. I think it’s im­por­tant to bring the val­ues of art into the doc­u­ment­ing process. Suc­ceed at this and you make things feel more, well, ev­ery­thing: timeless, es­sen­tial, beau­ti­ful, in­spir­ing, worth sav­ing, and so on.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE NAT­U­RAL WORLD AND TRA­DI­TIONAL CUL­TURES WHICH IN­SPIRES YOU TO CU­RATE THEM?

For me, na­ture is at the root of ev­ery­thing. And yet I strug­gle to be in com­mu­nion with it. Cul­tures that in­ter­act more di­rectly with na­ture help direct lost souls like me to the most im­por­tant things in life. “Cu­rate” is a funny term. It can sug­gest a kind of dis­in­ter­est from deeper mean­ing, and a pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of taste over the ev­ery­thing else. But maybe this is be­cause my back­ground is as a writer, not in vis­ual arts. For me the process is more about re­search­ing and pre­sent­ing, sto­ry­telling and edit­ing. And I sup­pose there’s an ed­u­ca­tional el­e­ment as well.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DE­CID­ING ON YOUR SUB­JECT MAT­TER?

My brother and I keep a run­ning list of in­ter­est­ing top­ics and things to look into. Of course we can’t af­ford to fly all over the world so we’re usu­ally re­spond­ing to op­por­tu­ni­ties to travel some­where, to work with a film­maker who’s headed some­where, or to use im­ages that a pho­tog­ra­pher al­ready has in his/her port­fo­lio. Com­mis­sion­ing the writ­ing is al­ways the last step. We need to have the vi­su­als first.

WHAT HAS SUR­PRISED YOU MOST ABOUT THE JUNGLES IN PARIS PROJECT AND WHAT’S BEEN MOST RE­WARD­ING?

The ex­tent to which a part-time project has ended up shap­ing my life. When we started Jungles in 2013 I saw it as an ex­ten­sion to my sense of self as a travel writer, one who likes old things but also likes some of the trendy stuff that’s out there to­day. I didn’t re­alise it would guide me down this rabbit hole of mythol­ogy, an­thro­pol­ogy, slow liv­ing, East­ern re­li­gions, etc. – to think well be­yond the present com­mer­cial and cultural con­text. I have to credit my brother with push­ing me this di­rec­tion too.

WHAT’S YOUR OWN PER­SONAL FAVOURITE TRAVEL DES­TI­NA­TION?

I love moun­tains. The best trip I’ve taken was a five-day trek up a pro­tected Hi­malayan val­ley in Nepal.

TOP TIP FOR VIS­IT­ING NEW YORK?

Ask a lo­cal for di­rec­tions! The New Yorker’s rep­u­ta­tion for rude­ness is over­stated.

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE Jungles in Paris founders, Dar­rell (right) and Oliver Hart­man; Story 33 Bared Souls: In­dian Sad­hus Kumbh Mela, In­dia. Pho­tog­ra­pher Pas­cal Man­naerts; Story 40 Holi Goes Big Vrin­da­van, In­dia. Pho­tog­ra­pher Pas­cal Man­naerts; Story 76...

Story 1 Thick-skinned Beauty Omo Val­ley, Ethiopia. Pho­tog­ra­pher Drew Doggett

CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT Mon­go­lia. Pho­tog­ra­pher Oliver Hart­man; Story 9 Swim­ming Lizards Galá­pa­gos. Pho­tog­ra­pher Scott MacDonough; Story 4 A Most Dis­rup­tive Vol­cano Ey­jaf­jal­la­jökull, Ice­land. Pho­tog­ra­pher Lane Coder; Story 4 A Most Dis­rup­tive Vol­cano...

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