How to make participative pictures with children without staging anything? Where should I stand with the camera in order to let them be themselves? How can attentiveness to the children’s complex feelings drive me toward a new form of portraiture? These are only but a few questions I have been asking myself everyday while working for three months with children in the summer of 2022 in the city of New Orleans, USA.
From the publisher:
With this project, Yogananthan makes a return to documentary photography, yet frees himself from prescriptions and pushes beyond the frame of tradition. Mystery Street works both as a conversation with the real and an escape into multiple narrative possibilities. If this body of work is mainly composed of portraits, Yogananthan’s preferred genre, it is not intended as a comprehensive portrait of New Orleans. Set under the burning sun of Louisiana, this body of work is a fable, it says something about reality, but uses crossroads. It is a comment on human behaviors and yet a transfiguration of the common.
Fragments of a lingering summer, Mystery Street provides us with a minimum of information about space, time, or place, aware of how some figuration bears great weight. In an effort to suspend or avoid overdetermination, he invites viewers to be caught by their own expectations. A turning point in Vasantha Yogananthan’s practice, Mystery Street takes a caring look at kinship, at the intersection of body and environment.
This body of work will be shown at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation (Paris) from May 5th to September 3rd 2023 and at the International Center of Photography (New York City) from September 2023 to January 2024. It was produced as part of Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, in partnership with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson and the International Center of Photography.
Photographs: Vasantha Yogananthan
Texts: Taous Dahmani & Vasantha Yogananthan, Clément Chéroux & Agnès Sire
Editorial direction: Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi
Design: Bureau Kayser
26,5 x 29,5 cm
French / English
Publication date: May 4th 2023
Co-publication Chose Commune / Fondation Hermès