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Untitled (Holi Color)
Provided by the artist - Bob Duncan
Artist's statement by Bob Dunan on his Noir Portraits (Pers. Email to Alan Griffiths, 16 July 2019)
I began photographing with an umbrella flash about 4 years ago. I liked the look of studio photography while even out on the street. I also carry a large piece of black velvet to remove background distractions; because of that, for lack of a better name, I began referring to these portraits as “Noir portraits”.
I wanted something edgy so I began photographing fantastical makeup and costumes. Wherever I traveled abroad I sought out local color. In Rome I discovered a small theater that produced cabaret shows and began regularly photographing the performers backstage.
While in India I became impatient waiting for the next seasonal festivity just to get photographic opportunities like the annual holi color ritual. One of the main problems of photographing in an actual holi color crowd is the danger of ruining camera equipment with dyed powder flying left and right.
While living in Kochi, I passed a tourist shop that featured bowls of the brilliant colored powders used for the Hindu ritual. It dawned on me to create holi color portraits. As a result, in addition to being a photographer I’ve become a kind of ersatz makeup artist. These portraits are the results so far.