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The Shower Series
For the last few months I have been inviting people to visit my apartment and allow me to photograph them in a very intimate space; my bathroom. I have also been inviting them to take a shower as I continue to shoot them. I soon came to the observation that warm water running over my subjects bodies often relieved them of any unnerving awkwardness the camera brought about. Once they were relaxed, the bathroom, formerly a beauty parlour, now became a confessional and I the hair dresser. Many of my subjects shared intimate details of their life with me and every new person in the shower became a brand new allegory. With every new visit I had a new protagonist; A new plot and a new parable of hurt and heroic that came undone under that shower – My Shower. I felt a personal mythology was being shared in that shower. An independent study that I have gotten addicted to.
Secretly I have been told by my subjects that it is thrilling and adventuresome to be in my shower; Secretly cheating my traditional and tame Indian upbringing I live through all of my subjects. Fighting their wars and braving their fears for those few hours where we are connected through this pious space.I continue to investigate this enthralling photo project which has thus far given rise to some of the fastest, most disarming relationships I have formed. I look forward to these images leading the way as the project continues.
As I have found time and again what I set out to consume, consumes me. Based on the root structure of my cultural upbringing, ardent seeking is an act of submission. A project, whether photographic or not, begins with placing good faith in the unknown. When I suspend the illusion of a plausible predestined fiasco, I start to make my pictures with two most elemental givens, myself and the person in the frame. As the project progresses, A sentience of the self dissolves, leaving behind a distilled remainder… the subject and the story.
This Essay solely began as a labor of love, I was driven by a mad passion and desire to document the sensory overload i personally experienced. The texture, the drama, the undeniable sexuality, the relief, it was all there. But when I photographed the first person in that shower, it was nothing but a response to the visual. So when it started out, it was very tangible and measurable; But as it progressed it gathered the moss only a rolling stone can round up. It became a lot more than light and water. it became about what I shared with this person for that finite length of time and what we were willing to give up to be in that bath tub together as we willing broke social norms. I want this project to communicate that the drive it took to make these images is the drive I aim to sustain as an artist. If this project is any measure, then I want to be recognized and known for my ability to connect, collaborate and create.
I was born and raised in Mumbai, India, A terrific country, but I guess you have to go away to love it again. Chasing photography is what brought Manjari to the US in 2001; She graduated in 2004 but moved back to India to reconnect with her roots. Manjari moved to New York City in late 2007 and some of her recent achievements include 8 honorable mentions at the Lucie awards. Manjari was recognized as a winner for the NYC Strand Photo contest in 2009. Manjari’s work has been included in Centre for Fine Art photography, NYC Slideluck Potshow 2009 and her image was selected for the PDN photo of the day blog in Nov ’09. Manjari was one of six people selected for an exclusive workshop with Jörg Colberg and Robert Lyons in fall 2009 and her work is scheduled to be featured on NYMphoto blog early 2010. Manjari’s ongoing shower series will be spotlighted as a feature for PDN.EDU for their spring 2010 issue and her current selected clients include AOL, American Baby, Penguin Books and AARP. Manjari currently lives and freelances in NYC.