Saturday, 10 November 2012

FotoWeekDC Exhibition 'Tomorrow We Disappear' Explained By Photographer Joshua Cogan (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- One of the great things about FotoWeekDC is traveling without moving. An exhibition we're looking forward to is Joshua Cogan's "Tomorrow We Disappear," opening on Monday with an exhibition party on Wednesday at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

The exhibition focuses on the remaining circus performers in New Delhi's Kathputli Colony. Once a thriving artistic community, the Indian government issued relocation permits to the colony for New Dehli's first skyscraper. Cogan spent four months documenting this transition while working on the documentary "Tomorrow We Disappear," scheduled for release next year.

The Huffington Post spoke with Cogan about a few of his photos. Click through the slideshow to read the photographer's thoughts on each shot.

  • "This is one of the puppeteers in the colony, Kailash. What's he's doing is teaching kids puppeteering. There's not a lot of teaching those skills anymore, which is kind of a bit of a problem. He's at The House of Puppets and he's doing a performance for us. The name of the colony translates to 'wooden puppet.' The performances were done to tell the Royal's stories. The puppets are incredibly complex. They have a lot of moving parts. Some have up to eighteen strings, some characters are beheaded, they slide swords. This shows the synchronicity of movement between the puppets and the puppeteers."

  • "This is a wedding in the colony. We don't have it as much in the States, but weddings are a huge celebration in the colony. It's the best friend of the groom organizing the band from out of town. They're waiting outside the grooms house, waiting to do a procession with the bride and groom throughout the colony."

  • "That is <a href="">Ishamuddin Khan</a>. You might have seen this in cartoons, but he's the only person in the world that can do the '<a href="">Indian Rope Trick</a>.' The rope comes up out of the basket by itself, under its own power, crawls into the air and he can climb the rope. He's been on "Penn and Teller." A theme that runs through this is these guys have been around the world. They've met heads of state, they've traveled around as the greatest examples of Indian folk artists but they go back home and they're not treated as high functioning artists, they're treated at vagrants. He's not teaching it to his son, even though he loves the magic. This was taken after a performance. His son is holding up the rug in the background. He makes his living performing and teaching at summer camps to more wealthy Indian kids, but he's not passing on the skills to his children."

  • "This is one of the remaining magicians in India. He's practicing his tricks. These guys are masters of manipulation, they're always working a con. The magicians are the best at street performing, they're very interesting characters. They're con men, Their whole thing is to make you laugh, make you cry and then make you fearful and get your money off of you. It's a slow con but It's also part of the performance. A lot of the warm up tricks of Indian magic are very similar to the ones we see in western magic. It's when they get into the gruesome stuff that we take a serious diversion from it."

  • "The different crafts associated with Indian circuses, fire breathers, stilt walkers, puppeteers, magicians and animal trainers. This is one of the last few animals trainers left. Delhi has passed laws making it harder and harder to work. They're associated with vagrants so their performances are considered begging. About, 10-15 years ago, they passed laws outlawing animals. In older photos you'll see baboons, bears, they were literally members of the family. They took away the animals and now they've taken away their livelihood. These guys are some of the last few living there. In some cases, instead of monkeys, now you see kids doing the tricks in the middle of the street. What is progress?"

Related on HuffPost:

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