Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Abbas: Soul Hunt: Magnum In Motion

Here's a multimedia slideshow featuring photographs by Abbas from the Magnum website. It's about pagan rituals, performed by the shamans of Siberia, the Voodoo in Haiti, the Dogon of Mali, the Shinto in Japan, and the Bari of the Amazon.

Having photographed the Indonesian traditional healers in Bali, I was naturally very interested in seeing this body of work. While I deem Abbas' work to be superlative, I have to say that this slideshow is disappointing. I fault its unimaginative production rather than the photographs...which appear muddy (is it the compression for the slideshow?). It is uninformative, and I had to visit the thumbnail page to read background information on the photographs, as the slideshow itself has no captions or narration. What it does have is a truly awful soundtrack. Too bad.

Abbas (he only uses his first name) is an Iranian photojournalist living in Paris, France. He has covered wars and revolutions in Biafra, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, the Middle East, Chile, Cuba, and South Africa during apartheid. He photographed the revolution in Iran, to which he returned in 1997 after seventeen years of voluntary exile.

His interest in religion led him in 2002 to start a new long-term project about the clash of religions, defined as culture rather than faith, which he believes are replacing political ideologies in the strategic struggles of the contemporary world.

Abbas' Soul Hunt