Koch, Lewis, 1949- / Lewis Koch, notes from the stone-paved path : meditations on north India
[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.
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/| Foreword Copyright 2003 Joseph W. Elder, Photographs and Introduction Copyright 2003 Lewis Koch, Afterword Copyright 2003 Vinay Dharwadker.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright