Summer 2012, I am invited by my good friend Armando Ribeiro to collaborate with Portuguese musician Pedro Gomes Marques for a group show at Casa das Artes in Tavira, Portugal. I sent about 100 photographs to Pedro who used these as inspiration to compose a soundtrack. I then provided him with some sampled sounds, he added his own, and wove them into the music to create a loose narrative, which I used as a guide to create this video
The body of work represents about 6 years of travel – sometimes on assignment, sometimes not, just photographing my immediate surroundings, always and only at night.
From North America to Europe to Asia and Africa, my journey took me from a sedentary lifestyle, working as a studio artist in Chicago, to a peripatetic one as a photojournalist covering conflicts and social upheaval in such places as Afghanistan, Southern Turkey, Kenya, Thailand or the border between Chad and Sudan. In my work I encountered a great deal of death, destruction, and oppression – in short, the darkest aspects of humanity. This prompted big questions about our nature as human beings and about my own motivation to bear witness. I suppose you could say it took me to a very dark place. And yet these images are a celebration of life, of decadence, freedom and love, things one often feels intensely when confronted with their counterparts.
A certain kind of magic happens when the sun goes down. Shadows play tricks on the imagination. Colours take on a new richness and depth. Forms become blurred, abstract, more painterly and mysterious. People simmer down and reveal themselves, angels becoming demons and demons becoming angels. Mythic creatures appear, and the line between what is safe and what you want, between madness and inspiration, becomes as nebulous as some of the resulting images.
Obscurity lends itself to a kind of reverie. A threshold presents itself, daring you to cross it, to dream and to live as in a dream. This journal by night is an expression of that space where the infinite and the finite seem to mingle with ease – a space where I often find myself plotting my own destiny.
Click here for more information about the show. To view a larger selection of images please visit my archive.
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Anne Holmes is a freelance photojournalist based in Cambodia, specializing in post-conflict, environmental and human rights issues, working largely in Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia for NGO, editorial and corporate clients.