The jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery

Dow Wasik­siri’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion goes back to the days of cam­era tricks with no Pho­to­shop

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Weekend - Mys­te­ri­ous Shell #5. Photo: Kath­mandu Photo Gallery via Bangkok Post Photo: Bangkok Post

ATHMANDU Photo Gallery’s lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion is a sur­real vis­ual feast. Seashells are beau­ti­fully stacked and bal­anced on thin wooden branches in a sun­set desert, a foe­tus rests peace­fully in a womb of a tree trunk and strange, eerie red rocks emerge from a toi­let in as­cend­ing or­der.

Aes­thet­i­cally sim­i­lar to Sal­vador Dali’s The Temp­ta­tion Of Saint An­thony with their warm tones, blue azure sky and sur­re­al­ist ob­jects on spindly wooden legs, it is dif­fi­cult to wrap your head around the fact that these are not paint­ings, but film pho­to­graphs by renowned Thai pho­tog­ra­pher Dow Wasik­siri.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, In Search Of Self, re­vis­its a selec­tion of the photo-artist’s ear­lier and most cel­e­brated se­ries -- Com­po­si­tion Red (Red Rock) (1982) and Mys­te­ri­ous Shells (1993), leav­ing fans new and old ask­ing the same ques­tion whilst nearly hav­ing their noses pressed onto the glass: “How?”

“Every­thing was done in cam­era,” he said, an­swer­ing each and ev­ery ques­tion that was thrown at him dur­ing the open­ing. “Look­ing at it now, I think it has some charm, be­cause now every­thing is all re­touched and every­thing seems to be easy. When I did these photos, you think of the con­cept and you think of how to ex­e­cute the ac­tual shot. You have to plan it. Now it’s not so much as you shoot and put every­thing in Pho­to­shop.”

Shot dur­ing the early late 80s and early 90s, Dow would take around a week in or­der to cre­ate a sin­gle pho­to­graph. Roughly plan­ning each piece and also us­ing a lot of trial and er­ror, he uses dif­fer­ent tech­niques like dou­ble ex­po­sure, sand­wich­ing films and much more to achieve his de­sired ef­fects. Mys­te­ri­ous Shell#1 -- the pala­tial­like conch shell bal­anced on wooden stilts was cre­ated in a rather di­rect way -- us­ing a painted back­ground and set­ting up the shell on stilts

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