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Koch, Lewis, 1949- / Lewis Koch ; notes from the stone-paved path : meditations on north India
(2003)

Koch, Lewis
[Introduction] Quoting from a larger context,   p. 10 and 11


Page 10 and 11

10
been told).  The author of the text on effective poster-making, paired with
the image of the
'7th Up' soda sign, is Dr. Douglas Ensminger, director of the Ford Foundation
in India
during the years immediately following India's independence, one of the most
influential
Americans to have lived in India.
My first visit to India was as a fourteen-year-old boy with my family.  When
we
departed, British Bombay harbor officials with sun helmets and khaki shorts
supervised us
as we boarded the Swedish ship Gripsholm for its month-long voyage to the
United States.
During my most recent visit to India last winter, I entered a roadside air-conditioned
stall
and electronically transferred funds from my bank account in Madison, Wisconsin,
to that
roadside stall in Madurai, India.  Between those two visits, India has changed
in ways too
numerous to mention.  So have my perceptions of India.  So have I.  Yet even
for someone
like myself who has studied India for fifty years and visited there so many
times, Lewis
Koch's pairings of photographs and texts produce joyful surprises and stimulate
new possi-
bilities of comparisons and connections.
LEWIS KOCH
Madison, Wisconsin
August 2003
INTRODUCTION
Quoting from a Larger Context
When I get to a new place . . . I want to learn what it is I didn't know
I would see.
Barry Lopez, naturalist, writer
Memory is a fragmentary collection of experience.  It is a singular assortment
of
interrelated, sometimes contradictory encounters with the everyday world.
 Photography
helps piece together this disparate array.  It vindicates experience.  It
acknowledges and
interrogates reality.  It is my paper memory.
To give form to that which is inherently intimate and incomplete.  I try
to find ways
for photographs to work with other ideas, collaborating with a broader range
of observa-
tion.  In this recent body of work, disparate images from a sojourn in north
India are
paired with pages of text from diverse sources.  By joining the two-- photographs
from
the real world with photographs of book pages-- I intend to initiate a dialogue.
 It is a
contemplative approach, a meditation, one that aims beyond the specific qualities
of
visual insight or written word.
Our perceptions are conditional upon the information we have to apply to
them.
These photo-text pairs are presented as paths to further exploration.  Just
as I followed
numerous trails during my wanderings in north India, these diptychs traverse
a vast terri-
tory in pursuit of unfamiliar vistas (to learn what it is I didn't know I
would see).
Each impression, each image, each page of text is, by definition, a highly
edited, sub-
jective view of a real place or idea.  In this way, the book pages were retrieved
in much the
same manner as the photographs-- through exploration, serendipity, revelation.
 Both
quote from a much larger context.
Even though I was in India for nearly a year, and not as a tourist (I lived
and worked in
the Tibetan community, near Dharamsala), it is difficult, impossible really,
to create any
comprehensive statement about such a vast subject.  It is easy for the outsider
to focus on the
constant jumble of activity in India, the colorful whirling of myriad cultures.
 Tibetan society
is likewise prey to stereotypes of the ineffable, and laments of lost horizons.
 My photo-
graphs and their literary corollaries seek a quieter focus: to give voice
to the elemental and
obscure, to reveal a questioning affection for life at its most immediate
and mundane.

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