HOLY MEN OF HINDUISM
Portraits, by Olivier Remualdo
I travel in india since 2004. The authenticity I find there is such that I ceaselessly return in that country; I’ve spent there about a year and a half. My life is a real human and spiritual quest which I pursue through the photographic process. I am interested in the themes of wisdom and spirituality, I find in India what has practically disappeared from the western society (I live in Europe - France). I do not claim to be an utopian, but I do believe in the unity of our world and in love. For me, love emerge from the encounter, self knowledge and in a discovery desire. According to me, it exists only through a sincere and an authentic approach. I do not try to impose a point of view but simply to deliver a message which can contribute to know who we really are. I try to share a singular perception of the world in which we live, beyond prejudices and a certain nonsense of our globalized societies.
India is a land of contradictions and the current period stresses more the paradoxes of a society anchored in the spiritual and the religous ways while being oriented in a race for its development and wide opened to technological transformations at the same time. According to my experience, no nation symbolizes better than India the synthesis of humanity, it is what makes me return there ceaselessly. Since years, I am fascinated by the spiritual and mythological aspects of this country that I explore through my photographic work. Originally trough a poetic approach which evolved as time goes by, towards a more and more humanistic glance. By the apprenticeship, I get closer and closer to these men and women, dissipating my fears and in priori, reducing my distance to the photographed subject until a mutual sharing out that I want the most sincere. In my project, I give a greater place to the meeting, it prevails on the technical aspect. It allows me to live unexpected and real situations.
In my current work I am interested in individuals who chose a different way, going even contrary to the quick march of the world. I am next to sâdhus without any idealization and I respect them profoundly as men and also in their quest of wisdom. Although few works are dedicated to them, sâdhus are a lot photographed and they became icons of contemporary and touristic India. I notice that they are systematicly represented in the everyday life context or in the frame of rituals. I thus orient my work into a studio logic to make off-camera the immediate environment of the subject. I strip my portraits of their "picturesque" aspect to show better the peculiarity of the individual in order to make the spectator refocus on his glance, facing the subject, and if he is dispoed to do so, with himself.
This project was initiated in 2009 in Varanasi. The last journey was during the 2010 Haridwar Maha Kumbh Mellah were millions of pilrims came for having a bath in the Holy bath at an auspicious time. The Maha Kumbh Mellah is the bigest gattering of people in the world for rligious beliefs..