Far from an Indian story, although the photographs were taken in Calcutta, the “Passenger” corpus extends the initiation journey that is dear to Martin Bogren’s photographic writing. For the first time, the photographer adds colour to his black and white graphic aesthetic. By offering a non-place, each photograph absorbs all space and time, from then on, it is an entire imaginary world that conquers its rights.
Wandering invites a change of scenery, a test of distance and confrontation with a remote culture. Between views of dilapidated scaffolding with floating tarpaulins, operetta uniforms, or a man lying down with angelic looks, each photograph is followed by a disturbing experience. Within this real dream of a contemporary adventure, the magic of the oneirism instilled gives way to a detachment from reality.
The chiaroscuro suggests a theatre of the absurd, a refusal to search for meaning, where surrender appears to be the only key to understanding. Putingt aside all grids of reading, leaving free field to the intuition, such is the freedom to which the photographer submits us. This approach tends towards the experience of synaesthesia – a singular sensory association, where the visual stimulus reverses the senses. When the softness of one image responds to the harshness of another, often slips a tangible texture in which the eye gets invested.
Starting from documentary narratives with an intimate echo, the photographs underpin the concern for beauty, or any other form of revelation. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know”. Diane Arbus’ words resonate powerfully, just as Passenger confirms a language of abstraction that leaves a mysterious, elusive trace, but one that everyone can experience between one and oneself. Here, the experience of freedom itself blossoms.
“When, for a moment, we silence our minds and stop trying to understand, knowledge arises, without thought, judgement, blame or fear. Then we can see beauty for itself, without the need for analysis or control. And we know who we really are. In the meantime, we are just passing through.