Observations and Orchestrations
Photography by Kerry J Dean
'Observations and Orchestrations' is an amalgamation of a number of long term projects, shot over many years and many trips to Mongolia. Looking at the odd beauty to be found in the clashes between tradition and contemporary culture. It’s these unexpected and incongruous elements of Mongolia that are the most intriguing to me; a troop of small girls making their way to school, every one with brightly coloured poms poms in her hair; a last trace of the communist education system. Cars and trucks seemingly marooned in the desert and wrapped in printed cloth to protect them from the extreme weather. At first glance the work could be interpreted as documentary and there is certainly a celebration of Mongolian skills and rituals, but these are a starting points for a more extended and exaggerated view. Initial observations, spark further investigations which become staged orchestrations.
My process is entirely collaborative, working with locals who have become close and critical friends, both challenging and contributing to my vision. More often than not it is the everyday practicalities, the domestic acts that I find inspiring extraordinary and theatrical. I work to amplify these scenes, revisiting them, adding and subtracting materials, props and set, re-staging, working with what already exists, continuously questioning if the representation feels honest – exaggerated but honest.