Inter-subjective realities, rather than truth or fact, have shaped culture in human history. They wield great power despite their seemingly fictional existence. Shared tastes and values are what enable complete strangers to communicate and co-operate. Photography has always been a very poor recorder of solipsistic truth, but a very powerful device of suggestion. If we reject any possibility of objectivity, then the very manner in which we respond to, capture, order and display imagery of world affairs should be dealt with through a more affective mechanism.
In this series, war, nations, and religion are viewed through the microcosm of a firework festival in rural Cuba. The series documents the build up to, and the day of the pyrotechnic performance in which rival sides of a town engage in a battle of fireworks and floats. These images are juxtaposed with photographs of soldiers marking the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. The latter are products of a globally acknowledged ideology, but are no less fictional.
The struggles for political justice in Cuba appear as a political orthodoxy, which, as in many cases, contrasts strongly with individual emotional experience. In re-constituting the identities of young people, mostly men, that go to war from emotionless machines to humans expressing genuine vulnerability, the series engages and challenges the paradigm of machismo that is so prevalent in Central and South America.
Lewis Khan b.1990 is a photographic artist from London, working with stills and moving image. His portrait based work is a study of emotion, relationships, and identity.
Khan’s graduation piece from UWE, Bristol – ‘Georgetown’ (11min , 20sec) was picked up and exhibited widely, notably at The Photographers Gallery as part of Fresh Faced + Wild Eyed, it was also awarded 1st Prize at Shuffle Film Festival by Director Danny Boyle.
Following that Khan’s practice has taken him further afield, shooting projects commercially and personally in countries across Europe and The Americas. At the same time as this Khan has undertaken an Artist Residency spanning 4 years across two general London hospitals; The Chelsea & Westminster and the West Middlesex. The resulting project ‘Theatre’ offers a complex web of associations based on the universal human qualities of strength & fragility. The project is situated in the context of the contemporary landscape of UK healthcare; the potential privatisation of the NHS, and the allegorical connection between the immediate themes explored in the project and the unfolding wider political situation.
‘Theatre’ will be published as a limited edition photobook by The Lost Light Recordings in 2020.