The journey of self-discovery
Dow Wasiksiri’s latest exhibition goes back to the days of camera tricks with no Photoshop
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