This is not the end
This is not the endPie Aerts

Pie Aerts' Photoseries Captures The Vivid Contrasts & Diversity Of India And Its People

We live in multicultural times where it is a well-established fact that culture is pluralistic. It does not exist as a monolith and is ever so fluid. Those traditionalist views of ‘our culture, their culture’ are gone for good, at least in the way I see the world. However, the appreciation of other cultures is not the same as assimilating them. It just lends renewed perspective. I’ll elucidate that with an example.

Imagine a Bengali photographer from Kolkata visiting the streets of Dordrecht for the first time to document it. He may have read his fair share of Dutch literature like Willem Bilderdijk or Jan Wolkers or studied the photographs of Henricus Jacobus Tollens but experiencing it for the first time physically and not through literature or art is a whole different ball game. Is his documentation going to be less ‘true’ than a local Dutch photographer? Can his photographs capture the ‘true’ Dutch experience? I believe these questions are moot. His way of seeing will always be different from a Dutch photographer but it is also precisely that which will give his photographs a unique edge, personality and perspective. Therein lies the beauty of multiculturalism.

Now, let’s turn the tables on this example and explore Dutch photographer, Pie Aert’s captivating photo series documenting India, This is not the end. Colorful, vibrant, and bursting with life — Aert’s documentation of India captures our beautiful nation in all its glorious diversity and he does this while delicately balancing his artistic individuality and the Orientalist gaze. From the ghats of Varanasi to the indigenous women of Rajasthan, from the backwaters of Kerala to the daily passengers in local trains — his landscapes are vivid and his portraits are sombrely lively. I particularly enjoyed the colour palette of his photographs and the way he channels light in some photographs to create a diffused ambiance. This is not the end is indeed true to its name as it is an ongoing project by Aert.

This is not the end
'Born In Kerala' Is A Visual Symphony of Childhood, Innocence, & Homeland Connection

"Crowded, corrupt, chaotic, poor, and unsettling with deeply rooted inequalities. Welcoming, cultured, wealthy, peaceful, happy, and uniquely timeless. There is no other place where predictions of disastrous collapse and global supremacy must be treated with such equal seriousness. For more than 10 years, I have wandered the Indian subcontinent, from Kerala, to Calcutta, and from the Mumbai outskirts to the Pushkar palaces. Over time I learned that the only way in, is head first, right into its heart and into the hearts of its people. These images are a testament to that, a sequence of photographs seen and lived in a place where the human past is still alive."

Pie Aerts, on his series

You can view the entire photo series here.

Follow Pie Aerts here.

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