The Caravan, India’s “Journal of Politics and Culture” features an extended photo essay of my work with the Oro Win Tribe, created in the Brazilian Amazon in 2010. The 12-page spread reminds me of the photo magazines of yesterday…a true pleasure to see so much real estate dedicated to photography! To read the full story in The Caravan, click here.
Childhood Obesity is as relevant today as when I initially photographed this work with Time Magazine in 2009. I am pleased that Popoli Magazine in Italy decided to publish these photographs again for their October issue. We live in an interesting time–when millions of human beings can be starving while simultaneously millions are over-consuming.
I recently had an opportunity to write a short article for Namarupa magazine to go alongside a series of my photographs. “Beauty, Knowledge, Silence” is about my recent encounter with influential yogi B.K.S. Iyengar in Pune, India. To see the article in detail, please visit my site and be sure to learn more about Namarupa and their wonderful work on India.
As a part of my ongoing exploration of yoga, I have been shooting extensively in India this year. From the traditions of yoga, I now turn a lens on modern life and yoga today here at home.
Times Square, long a symbol of capitalism, indulgence and vice, took on a very distinct tone for this year’s Summer Solstice. On the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, over 8,000 yogis came together to practice asana at this frenetic crossroads of modern life. The five classes, beginning at 7:30 in the morning and ending at 9 at night, stretched along large swaths of concrete all the way from 44th Street to 47th Street along Broadway. What began with just 3 yogis and an intention is now in it’s 11th year and growing. The day began with a wonderful meditation lead by 94-year-old yogi, Tao Porchon-Lynch and flowed on from there…
I have generally been staying out of the elements during this extended Minnesota spring. However, one week ago the sun returned to the north country, warming us all, and Minneapolis took to the streets to welcome the change of seasons. The annual May Day Parade to Powderhorn Park found me in my element, shooting freely with the Black Label Bike Club and friends…here are a few of my favorites from the glorious day.
Illuminated in the warm afternoon sun, the man responsible for sharing the light of yoga with probably more human beings than any other, radiantly sat before me. Entering his 95th year, B.K.S. Iyengar welcomed me in for a conversation at Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, his yoga school in Pune, India, named in his late wife’s honor.
Guruji, as his students affectionately call him, listened briefly to my explanation for being there, this photographic exploration of yoga, and then launched into an articulate, studious and inspired lesson on yoga. He answered none of my questions and all of them. Quoting freely from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Guruji pointed out relevant passages, which I read aloud as the room slowly filled with students that gathered around me. It was a privilege to hear this brilliant man speak of the subject closest to his heart.
He commented on the Sutras with authority as I looked into his expressive eyes, explaining nuances of meaning. The essence of his message was that yoga is a progressive subject. First we must work with the concrete…and discipline the body and mind, through regular asana practice with awareness. “Asanas are to interpenetrate, not as physical exercise. Have I touched my mind? Have I touched my intelligence? Have I touched my ego? Have I touched my self? This is Sadhana”, he told me. “So that is why I go deep, and that is why I enjoy it”, he said with an assuring laugh. Then, and only then, will we be fit for the abstract, subtle work of yoga.
As our conversation progressed, he continued, “You know what yoga has given me, I can tell you. At the age of 95, I’m still a fresh mind. It’s not a nagging mind. It’s not a nagging body. That’s enough for me. And, whether emancipation comes from that is immaterial…So I want everybody to have that fresh mind, that fresh way of thinking, freshness in them, moment to moment. And that is life. And to experience that fresh life, the methodology is only yoga.”
Geoffrey Hiller of Verve Photo recently featured an image from the “Oro Win” series…for the story, please take a look here.
On a recent summer evening, I got together to chat with fellow Minnesota-based photographer Joey Tichenor…this interview followed our rendezvous and is now live on his blog “Visions from the Heartland”. Below is the introduction to our interview…thank you Joey for the kind words…
The entire blog post and interview: http://visionsfromtheheartland.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/andy-richter-follow-your-heart-your-camera-will-catch-up/
Sun and warmth have brought forth new life here in Minneapolis…I’ve been enjoying the transition to summer and traveling on assignment with UNICEF in Mexico of late. As a matter of fact, work with NGOs and non-profits is one of my favorite realms in which I operate as a photographer. During this recent project in Mexico City, which was commissioned by UNICEF UK, the wonderful staff from UNICEF Mexico furnished me with some of the new printed materials they designed with my work since the last trip down. Here’s a sampling from the 2012 calendar, as well as the cover of the book they recently published…all photographs were created in Oaxaca and Chiapas…
Upon covering my head and washing my feet, I stepped through the threshold and was overcome by peace. There was a tranquility and reverence in the air, as the voices of priests resonated in Punjabi in waves from the loudspeaker. For Sikhs, the Golden Temple is the holiest place on Earth. Devout pilgrims arrive from all over the globe to bathe in the sacred waters of the “Pool of Nectar”, meditate on the parkarma, and prostrate in prayer while chanting mantras.
The white marble parkarma forms a walkway around the holy pool of water, Amrit Sarovar, in which the actual temple, Hari Mandir Sahib, rests at the center. The dome of the temple is said to be gilded with 750 kilograms gold. While the ornate architecture and décor are quite impressive, it appeared that something deeper was drawing the masses. Perhaps it was their hunger…on a number of levels.
All Sikh temples have Langar or free food, and the Golden Temple is no exception, preparing over 50,000 meals daily, often double that number during festivities. At all hours of the day, one can enjoy a meal of lentils, kheer, and chipati or cup of sweet hot tea. As I ate the nourishing and simple food with hundreds of others, sitting on the floor in rows, all equal, there was a very real sense of sharing, inclusiveness, and community.
As intended, everyone, irrespective of cast, creed or race is offered a place to seek spiritual solace and religious fulfillment…