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Ryan Paul Lobo | Interview
SHAI HEREDIA: Does the work of any particular photographer inspire you?
RYAN LOBO: I like the work of Antonin Kratochvil and Jonas Bendiksen. My tastes have changed with time. When I was very young I would sneak out to Select Bookshop in Bangalore and leaf through books by Raghu Rai, Henri Cartier Bresson and Raghubir Singh. Their images were beautiful and I would imagine being in those places.
SHAI HEREDIA: Have you exhibited your work before?
RYAN LOBO: No. This is my first photography exhibition.
RYAN LOBO is a producer, director, photographer and cinematographer who has been working professionally in the documentary film business for the last 5 years, His numerous films have aired on the National Geographic Channel, Animal Planet, The Oprah Winfrey Show, PBS and other networks. In 2001, Ryan co-founded Mad Monitor Productions, a joint Indian-American film and photo production company based in Bangalore and Washington D.C. As a filmmaker and photographer Ryan has explored stories ranging from Papua New Guinean tribal rites, American prisons and the Yakuza to dowry murders, Aghori sadhus, rogue elephants and child trafficking. Ryan is co- founder of "Opus CDM", an advertising, marketing and market research agency based in Bangalore. He has worked as a still photographer for numerous films for NGT, magazines, various non-governmental organizations, corporations and fund raising efforts.
SHAI HEREDIA, Ryan’s interviewer, has been the Festival Director of Experimenta, the international festival for experimental cinema in India, since 2003. She has rapidly developed the event into a significant new forum for artists’ film and video internationally. Heredia holds an MA in documentary film from Goldsmiths College, London and has recently shifted from Bombay to Bangalore, where she has joined the India Foundation for the Arts — India’s only arts philanthropic organisation — to make arts grants under the Extending Arts Practice programme
Ryan Lobo: Concept Note for ‘The Wedding Season’
I shot most of the wedding images at a time in my life when I was going through great emotional turmoil and pain. The woman I loved had left me, my dog had died and the documentary films I had dedicated my life to seemed sensationalized and far removed from my romantic visions when I had begun making them. My constant travelling had removed me from family and lover; the world seemed smaller and, from a distance, on reflection, so did I. Documentary filmmaking had treated me well—I found myself financially comfortable, being patted on the back by friends and family, earning in “dollars” too. However, in some regards I thought of myself as a fraud, a lucky sell-out, an exotic hunter. Heartbroken, I found myself withdrawing from social events and family.

The wedding images are the product of my own experiences of love and come from suffering and loss, not just of a companion but also of my ideas of love, fidelity and relationships. I liked holding the camera up to my face and hiding behind it. I had to speak less, smile less and be patted on the back less. Still photography was working alone which meant less conversation and less bullshit. I searched for moments of beauty and love but also for betrayal, disappointment and pain, all a part of my own tapestry at the time and, as I saw in each wedding, of practically everyone else. I found myself looking for the frayed edges, at bitching relatives and flirtatious grooms, at unfaithfulness, at jealousy, sadness and anger. My wedding images are a testament to love and its loss. I have tried to penetrate facades, to remove myself from my own connections with those who I photograph, to reveal the truth in our lives, in my life, to strip away the lies and, hopefully, to reveal moments in all their complexity, nastiness and beauty.
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