Monday, July 27, 2009

The Beauty Of Cultural Awareness

I came across Brian Hodges photography from Papua New Guinea during a visit to Frank Pictures Gallery in Santa Monica. These photographs moved me by the vibrant colors of the make-up and creative costume, as they pose with dignity, showing great confident in their posture, wearing their best jewelry. Reading their facial expression, and looking under the make-up and costume, you will notice that we are not that different.

Brian Hodges' statement to Monzuki:
My life as an artist began, paradoxically, while in Engineering school. I remember a certain epiphany I experienced one day while sitting through an arduous calculus class. I discovered that what interested me most was not the math itself, but instead the aesthetic value of the formulae as they were written on the chalk board.

I went on to become a telecommunications engineer, writing software controlling satellite communications. Over the years, I realized how factors like “design” and “technical elegance” were important for my artistic fulfillment. One day it dawned on me that I had a visual message to express, and that ultimately, software was not the best medium for communicating my vision.

I quit my job, picked up a camera, and allowed wanderlust to guide me.

On a personal level, my travels have served to promote cultural awareness, and foster a deep appreciation for indigenous style. My camera is merely a tool allowing me to collaborate with my subjects in ways I would have never imagined possible. This experience has proven immensely enriching.

My photographic work deals with humanity. By visually isolating my subjects from cultural context using a featureless background, I’m hoping to remind the viewer that we are all members of the same extended family - each one of us as full of beauty and dignity as the next. If my work serves to awaken these values in the viewer, then I will consider it a success.

These images were produced digitally using a Canon 1Ds Mark II. Subjects posed in a portable field studio using available light. Final exhibition giclee prints, sized 20” x 30”, are made with archival pigment inks and mounted in a plexiglass laminate. All adhesives and laminates are opti-clear, pH balanced with UV absorbers and stabilizers. Limited edition of 12 with 2 artist proofs.