Robert Ramser’s Holy Creatures

Calmly sipping a cup of Darjeeling tea, Robert Ramser told me his advice to any aspiring photographer. “Stay with your own style. It is better to take a bad photograph in your own style than a good photograph in someone else’s style.” In his series “Holy Creatures” – the subject of his up-coming exhibition – he certainly stays with his own style. But you will not find a bad photograph. They are all developed by hand from medium-format film. They are beautiful.

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The Philosopher, Vrindavan 2008

Last year, I met Robert at his home. I wrote about his mesmerising Asian photography. He told me that, on one of his photographic journeys to Mumbai, India, he became fascinated by the spiritual presence of animals. He had taken refuge from the heat in a small museum and discovered a series of miniature paintings illustrating the ancient Panchatantra fables from the Mogul era. He explained “In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist philosophies, every living thing is a soul incarnated in a material body. I was inspired by the exquisite manner these artists showed the presence and the dignity of the animals…”

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The Widow, Vrindavan 2008

Robert’s images are delicate and enduring. They have captured the animals’ indifference to humanity. I am sure that if I look for long enough, souls will appear! And there is atmosphere. I feel heat and humidity. I smell dust and open drains.

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The Lights of Paradise, Varanasi 2013

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The Capuchin in the Alcove, Vrindavan 2008

A hallmark of Robert’s Asian photography is that it is difficult to imagine the presence of a photographer in the scene. However, at 6.00pm on 5th June, Robert will definitely be present at the opening of “Holy Creatures” at the prestigious photo gallery Fotografika at 10, rue Borgeaud in Gland (between Geneva and Lausanne.) The exhibition lasts until 26th July. Go!

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