More work from Sri Lanka . . .
Suspended, just over the equator, between tragedy and transcendence, tiny Sri Lanka dangles from enormous India. Once upon a time, Sri Lanka was deemed to be "forty miles from Paradise," but when I arrived in 2011 to shoot a pinhole photographic portfolio of the rich architectural heritage of religion and royalty, the country had one of the world's highest suicide rates.
I left the sour air conditioning of Bandaranaike Airport and stepped into dense heat, humidity, humanity and rush hour pollution. On the way to Colombo, my spirit sank along with the setting sun. With either indifference or serenity, gargantuan Buddhas, their electric halos flashing the colors of the Buddhist flag -- red, orange, yellow, white and blue, surveyed from their shrines the creeping buses, bikes, scooters, cycles and trucks, tuk-tuks and sedans inching south. The sun collapsed into the Indian Ocean. I wanted to die.
No one would have more surprised than me to know that I would be back again in August of 2012 for another year and again in January of 2014. What made me change? How did Colombo, the cultural capital, become home?
The draw of Sri Lanka is undeniable- the pearlescent dawn, viridescent morning light, radiant noon sun, and conspiratorial moonlight on the black velvet of the nighttime sea all summoned me. Lush vegetation conspired with political and natural circumstances to shield ancient temple complexes, palaces, fortresses hewn from rock and irrigation systems from the ravages of time, but the cost of the recent civil war had left these structures often unvisited and neglected. Somehow, I felt an affinity with this conflicted land.
Back in the States this portfolio took shape, becoming more personal. Certain neighborhoods, such as Pettah, or Maharagama, even a child’s amusement park in Batticaloa spoke to me in ways I could never have anticipated. I was changed as an artist and as a person by my time in Sri Lanka. I realized how the imperial light of day, reflected from the surrounding sea and the glittering jungles falling on the film in my camera and the unembarrassed raw vitality of the Sri Lankan people had nourished me. This book is testimony to my transformation by the commanding resplendence of battered Sri Lanka.
Thai Temple, Colombo
Nallor Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna
Dutch Canal, Negombo
St Mary's, Point Pedro
Mirisawati Stupa, Anaradhapura