31 May - 17 August 2014
Terry Burrows has created an intriguing visual essay of people clandestinely photographed from behind, sitting or squatting on the Ghats (steps) along the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi (Banaras) in India. Burrows’ photographic series provides an oddly impersonal view of private moments of contemplation or indifference and collectively have a calming, meditative effect on the viewer.
The display of large photographic prints in the exhibition Banaras Backs has been selected from the complete series of 1008 photographs that feature in The Banaras Back Book. Terry Burrows has been interested in the activities occurring along the Ghats, both secular and religious, since his first visit there in 2005. He has created an intriguing visual essay of people clandestinely photographed from behind, sitting or squatting on the Ghats along the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi in India. These photographs were taken during a five-month residency that Burrows completed in Varanasi in 2010/11. The contrast of traditional religious ritual amidst contemporary street life is intriguing and Burrows argues it is portrayed particularly prominently with Hinduism. The photographs are also a form of anonymous portraiture yet reveal an experience of India across caste, class, religion and seasons, while avoiding the politics of photographing the face.