Building a Visual Story

An Interview with Matilde Gattoni

For over a decade now Matilde Gattoni’s camera lens is faithfully capturing myriad facets of life as experienced in India or Eritrea, Uzbekistan or Iran, Syria or Somalia. Born in 1974, Matilde Gattoni studied History in Universite’ des Sciences Humaines, Strasbourg, France, before giving in to her passion for photography. Ironically, as she now treads the different parts of the world camera in hand she lets her own visual essays to be a part of mankind’s history.

Matilde’s career as a photojournalist commenced when she was travelling in Israel and ended up covering the second Intifada early last decade. In the process she received much acclaim not only from her fellow photographers but also from aficionados of the art. Since 2007, her name was a permanent feature in more than one International Photography Awards (IPA). For her project Drought and Fear in the Horn of Africa she received bronze medal in Px3 Prix de la Photographie in 2012. Her visual portrayal, The Swallows of Syria, earned her 3rd place in Portfolio Lens Culture International Exposure Awards, 2012. Matilde was also associated in the making of Uzbekistan, 10 years after independence, Tranchida Editore, Milan, 2002 with renowned journalist Ahmed Rashid. A similar endeavour with Cartiere del Garda produced A better time in 2008.

Whether, it is in The Swallows of Syria or in The Devil in Me, the plight of women feature prominently in many of Matilde Gattoni’s visual narratives. Similarly, their victories also receive due attention as could be seen through her photographic essay on Elham Al Qasim, the first woman from UAE to reach North Pole. Over a period of time she also diversified and set out exploring a wide range of topics from architectural marvels, posh interiors to high octane sports like Formula One but always with a humane touch. Read the full interview with Matilde Gattoni to learn more about her and her work as she is busy in ‘catching’ the ‘transient hour’.

Mystery & Majesty of the Inner Self

As Explored by Michelle Dunaway

Michelle Dunaway was born in Alaska where she spent many of her nights watching the fascinating colours of the night sky created by the northern lights. She moved to New Mexico in her teens and was greeted by the enchanting beauty of the land. But the enigma that captivated her most since her childhood was the expressions, often ephemeral in nature, on the faces of human being. As her fondness for painting grew with time, she actively engaged her brushes in tracing the obscure language of human sentiments being expressed through the whole body. In the process she took training in the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California; earned awards and recognition including an Award of Exceptional Merit from Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition, 2010; involved herself in teaching at California Art Institute, Westlake Village and at Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art; and established herself as a premier visual chronicler of life. Her portraits and figurative paintings, ‘Remembering Home’, ‘Strength and Grace’ or ‘Poetry’ aptly depict what has long been suspected, that, ‘Beauty is truth’s smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.’

Exploring the Possibilities of the World

Through Jody MacDonald’s Eyes

Jody MacDonald learned to appreciate remote landscapes and foreign cultures early in her life. A childhood spent in Saudi Arabia has been a big help in her effort of deciphering an exotic climate. So, now when she paraglides over a forgotten piece of land or holds a tête–à–tête with a little known soul in some remote corner of the globe she feels completely at home. The photographer traverses the land, delves deep into the water and darts into the cool gale for locating and capturing that elusive photographic moment that seems wonderfully ‘perfect’. But being the purist that she is, it is extremely difficult for her to be satisfied with her craft and she continues to hone her skills. In 2006, Jody, in order to satisfy her thirst of both art and adventure, conceived The Best Odyssey. She and her partner, Gavin McClurg, trot the whole world sailing, surfing or spearfishing on the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Needless to say, these wild expeditions make Jody blissfully happy. For Jody it could aptly be said that, ‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.’

A Sublime Visual Lyric

Photography of Sébastien Millier

The name of Broken Hill, located in the far west of outback New South Wales, Australia, seems almost ironical. The wide vista spread till the horizon is covered by cupric red soil. Sunlight plays all day long on the undulating plain that is interspersed by the rocky ridges. The eerie silence of the desert is broken only by the vehicles journeying to and fro and the heavy machineries at work, unearthing the precious metal both above and beneath the earth’s crust. But that is not all. If you strain your ears long enough you will hear the voices of working men and women; the sound of their bustling activities; their unified chatter, music and even sighs. Bring your ears close to the ground and listen, for the earth may tell you stories that heaven knows nothing of.

On this sun soaked forsaken land another person is earnestly shifting the Golden Soil to reveal the tales of Broken Hill. Camera in hand, Sébastien Millier is busy unravelling the precious chronicle of this rich land. His efforts, as documented in Golden Soil, earned him awards and admirations from Prix de la Photographie, Paris, International Photography Awards (IPA) and Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, Sydney in 2013.

Sébastien Millier’s photographic exploits do not end with Golden Soil by any means. His commissioned project Pay With A Kiss also received the Caples Award, 2013 and accolades worldwide. From Nuit Blanche to Debris, Sébastien Millier’s peering eyes explore the cycle of life and decay and raise some serious questions about what lies Beneath the Surface. Learn about this curious traveller and photographer’s journey from his own mouth.

An Inveterate Image Maker

A Conversation with Martin Klimek

Whether it is from his Window Seat or while traversing the diverse landscape of Tanzania, Africa, Martin Klimek keeps a close watch on his surroundings, so that, nothing escapes the roving eyes of his faithful camera. Armed with an insatiable curiosity of experiencing the motley of colours presented by people and places closer home or away from it and an equally commendable open–mindedness, Martin Klimek continuously documents life as he views it. His photographic essays depict an irresistible élan vital that not only draws the attention of the audience but also engages into a conversation, albeit mute to the outside world, with them. At the end of the day when one finishes glancing over the pages of his album one senses how united everyone is in joys and pathos; it feels that one has just woke from a deep reverie; it seems one was treading the long forgotten dusty lanes of one’s own memory lane than shifting the pages to see some ‘unknown’ faces and ‘foreign’ environment. If for an artist the highest achievement is to transcend time then this San Francisco based photographer is surely sculpting his way towards the right direction. For, his work made his viewers aware of, ‘Where the voice of the wind calls our wandering feet / Through echoing forest and echoing street / With lutes in our hands ever–singing we roam / All men are our kindred, the world is our home.’