Eye On: Vikram Kushwah

Avant/Garde Diaries
Mar 14, 2013 3:28PM

Photographer Vikram Kushwah uses romantic surrealism as his preferred mis-en-scene. His dreamlike photographs are heavily influenced by traditional British culture, as well as the mystical Himalayan mountains, where he spent years in boarding school. Kushwah has been making waves lately with features in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Italia, and the recently published book Memoirs of a Lost Time.

Your images radiate a fair amount of dark romanticism. What draws you towards that aesthetic?That’s probably the best way to describe a lot of my work: “dark romanticism.” One can find traits described by both these words within my personality. What draws me towards that aesthetic is perhaps the subconscious mind. Why it does is something that’s hard to explain. As a child I always read storybooks with dark under-currents, and so are the films and photographers that inspire me. There’s a sense of mystery and inexplicability that has always fascinated me. I’ve always been drawn towards the feelings of wonder and marvel. It’s a calm that is brought about by daydreaming – of the past, of incomprehensible things like death and magic – that I like. I like the ambiguity of it all. Anything that is not fully explained or that borders between the real and the fantastical draws my attention. It may not necessarily inspire me, but it tempts me to at least examine it.

In some of your most intriguing photographs, the models hover in odd positions. What fascinates you about contorting the human form?This brings us back to the romanticism I associate with inexplicable things, a realm with no rules and boundaries, and the thrill of subverting the question of why an apple must fall to the ground from a tree. Perhaps I try and express this through some of my pictures. I’ve had a repetitive dream that I’m falling, but falling upwards. It’s thrilling, yet frightening. A lot of my pictures are a reaffirmation of the wonderland that Alice found herself in.

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019