Spirit & Stone: The Photography of John McDermott
Thailand- Bangkok | Oct 7 2012 | (23:19:46 - EDT)
"Spirit and Stone: The Photography of John McDermott" will be featured in upcoming EYES IN edition 15. View this exclusive with a partial interview from artist John McDermott. Purchase EYES IN on Kindle, Nook and iTunes.
For more than twenty years, John McDermott has crisscrossed Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, meticulously photographing centuries-old sacred sites and the living culture that surrounds them. From Myanmar to Angkor, from the temples of Kathmandu to the religious festivals of Bali, Spirit and Stone evokes a sense of ancient cultures deeply rooted in tradition, in rhythm with the natural and spiritual worlds.
“It is the intangible spirit of a place that is most elusive when you’re trying to create a visual portrait,” says McDermott. Rather than strict documentation, McDermott seeks to create an emotional and spiritual experience of a place and culture. “I am a pictorialist at heart, the photographic equivalent of an impressionist painter.”
McDermott’s biggest project to date has been a comprehensive portrait of the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia, photographed in the window of time between the dark days of war, begun in 1975, and the massive influx of tourism that began in the mid-2000s. The Angkor works have been published in the much acclaimed, hardcover book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor.
Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, in the heartland of the United States, McDermott worked in the feature-film industry in Los Angeles before arriving in Bangkok in 1993 to pursue work as a photographer. McDermott was chief photographer for an English-language business and lifestyle magazine, which took him throughout Asia and it was during this period that he began photographing cultural heritage sites.
John McDermott’s work has been published in magazines and newspapers internationally, including The International Herald Tribune, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. John McDermott’s book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor was published in 2009 and has received international critical acclaim from Oprah magazine, the New York Times magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Traditional Home and Arts & Collections International.
International award-winning fine art photographer John McDermott debuts recent photography in Spirit and Stone, an exhibition of monochromatic images of Asia at Hong Kong’s prestigious Sundaram Tagore Gallery.
Spirit and Stone follows successful shows of McDermott’s photographs of Angkor Wat at Sundaram Tagore Beverly Hills and Sundaram Tagore New York. McDermott has since broadened his portfolio with travels to Bali, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.
Spirit and Stone at Sundaram Tagore Hong Kong was McDermott’s first showing in Hong Kong as well as the introduction of new images.
For more information, please email visit: www.asiaphotos.net.
An Interview with Photographer John McDermott
As a child, what did you want to become (profession-wise)?
As a boy I wanted to be a professional football quarterback AND a rock star.
In which town did you grow up?
Little Rock, Arkansas
Do you think your background has influenced your current photography style? If so, what specific element in your background is most pervasive in influencing your current photography style?
I was a teenager in the early seventies when rock music was in its best incarnation and album art presented a lot of otherworldly images - landscapes and such. Those images stuck in my mind. I have found some of these unusual landscapes and scenes here in the real world and I try to capture them and then present them in the most otherworldly style that I can through my photography.
What inspires you in the job of being a photographer?
Photography requires you to look deeply at your subject so that you can understand it better which becomes an educational and enlightening experience. It also allows you to be exposed to many places and things that under normal circumstance you would never be able to do.
In which way do you consider yourself an innovative creator?
Most of the images I see taken in the places I like to photograph are usually pretty straight on as they are quite unusual and beautiful in their own right. I try to take it a little further, on to a different level.
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