Dreaming of ‘‘Closer’ - The exploration of the urban oasis..
I had started the year in 2017 by signing up for an advanced printing class at ICP (International school of photography.) I studied under the brilliant Ben Gest - who broke down an image into it’s very basic elements and worked with the simple idea of ‘Let’s get the image on paper and work from there’. I obsessed and printed and repeated this process for 3 months in a basement room full of creatives,classmates and critiquers. Eventually, I was able to and refine my approach to printing photography under Ben’s tutelage. I continued shooting and pursuing more aerial images and photography from Miami in May, LA in July and August, and NY in Sept and October. I was experimenting with lenses, shooting medium format and trying new approaches on each shoot. I played with different heights, banking turns and different views of each city or landscape I shot. My images were getting stronger technically, but I still felt a sense of unease in trying to make sense of everything I was shooting and printing. My work felt fragmented into divisions of pretty and sellable beach work versus familiar cityscapes. I continued working with Ben and tried to make sense of all my content and build a theme and a unique voice for a personal goal I had envisioned for a show this year.
At the end of September 2017, with three-forths of the year over, my goal to showcase my work was still alive. With perseverance and luck I connected with Tanya Decosta and the W Hotel. My portfolio had developed, and the W Union Square was ready for to choose a new artist-in-residence – things were starting to align. Tanya believed in my work, and we met to discuss the details for my print photography –the meeting ended with a date set for my first opening! my print photography. It felt like one of those magical New York moments;where amongst the millions of bustling hard working,hard charging souls we live amongst - I got a chance - partly due to my persistence and hard work but so much also due to Tanya’s belief in my vision.
I set out to build a concept and refine a theme- I had shot Orange County with beaches and surfers but also had images of water and coastlines. I had focused the camera on parks, basketball courts (‘Night SHots’), tennis courts(‘Lucky in Love’) and swimming pools (‘No Diving’). In my final shoot for the show in October- rather than feel the pressure mounting to produce new work for the show, I felt a catharsis and a deep feeling of calm. I celebrated the transition I felt - from just purely capturing the simple beauty of the aerial view - to honing in and starting to feel what I wanted to explore and craft a story through my images. The camera experiments started to pay off and trying a longer lens got me a crisper view of the world below. ***(see gear list below)
I was no longer looking at just the landscapes and architectural patterns that I had built my earlier work on - I started to capture people in their everyday lives in the urban setting- specifically in sport and recreational settings that slowed down their everyday lives within the fast pace and rugged space of urban life. From the visuals i could see, I started to resonate with what I could imagine are the feelings on the ground below - the chaos blending with the calm. The Urban life so much more manageable because of the oasis that we each find within.
I went back through over 150 final images and met back with Ben to gradually narrow this down to a theme. I was challenged to unravel the idea of ‘Closer’ and the final 8 shots were conceived. Not only did I realize there was something special within each of these spaces in the shots- talking and writing about this made me realize what’s even more powerful is what lives outside the lines: “I look to bring out the mundane and subtle nuances of life outside the boundaries of each setting- life outside that shows the ugly roads and traffic, the concrete, the construction and the crowds - contrasting with the serenity of water, the camaraderie of the courts and team work of people in physical movement together. ‘
Fast forwarding to a week NOW past the opening, I feel even more empowered to share with you ‘Closer’ and learn what it brings out in the unique ways in how people experience the work. It was truly special and exciting to see the support I received last week at the launch event. It was also a special moment for me to celebrate this with my wife Amrita who has encouraged me to keep flying and shooting new work and who has also critiqued me along the way.
Maybe I needed to get to this point of my work and I think ‘Closer’ for me my own oasis in finding tranquility in expression and connecting this drive with others to experience.
“In the midst of the mass, crowds and noise, I think the true charm is to want to find a way to not just be alone, but to reconnect with others and recharge our batteries.”
The ‘Closer’ series will be displayed in the W Hotel New York - Union Square Lobby and living room lounge facing Park avenue starting tomorrow, Thursday November 16th.
I will be the W artist in residence from Nov 16th through Jan 21st.
You can also see the work on my site: www.dineshboaz.com/closer.
*****Gear list for ‘Closer’****
Primary camera: Sony A7rii with FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens or 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens
Secondary camera: Fuji GFX 50s with a 32mm-64mm f/4 WR lens
For Video Broll content: Go Pro Hero 5 and Go Pro Session
Robinson R44 helicopter ( NYC and Miami shoots) Robinson R22 (LA Shoots)