Edmund Pearce had the opening to three new exhibitions last night. It would be difficult to imagine three more different photographers’ work put together in the same show. Stephen Dupont featured black and white street portraits taken at the Kumbh Mela in India, Heather Dinas produced some large, dark images exploring ideas of “identity, memory and sense of belonging” and Hoda Afshar presented several very creative, equally large montages in which she raises the issue of contemporary representation of Islamic women in the western world.
For me, Stephen Dupont’s series doesn’t have the impact of his previous Kumbh Mela exhibition in 2003 at Sydney’s Point Light Gallery. Perhaps that’s because the 2003 show illustrated more of what Kumbh Mela is all about: the masses of people, the interaction between those people and the vastness of the landscape. This current show is much more intimate and portrays the locals in isolated detail. The most interesting aspect of this series were the pages from his journal, as featured in the catalogue. I’d love to flick though his journals which give a real sense of Stephen’s connection to the environments he works in.
Hoda’s photographs are a cross between fine art and social commentary. It’s a very difficult thing to do. She succinctly presents her ideas, however the photographs can also be looked at from a simple graphic perspective. They’re certainly worth a second look.