“Loess” is the first self-published book by photographer Suraj Bhamra. The book serves as a culmination of a several year long study of the vibrant immigrant community in Hamtramck, MI. Originally shot to highlight ubiquitous symbols of American pride within the city, the work took a stark political turn with the onset of the contentious 2016 presidential race and the subsequent political climate. Shot in an editorial style, the book attempts to provide the viewer with an insightful social commentary into the plural and multi-faceted connection between the community and the greater American landscape.
The body of work explores the use of a camera as more of a thermometer instead of an optical instrument to gauge the climate of the community and how it ebbs and flows around the tranquil surfaces of the city of Hamtramck. Foregrounds and backgrounds are juggled indiscriminately using visual aids such as mirrors and glass to create a sense of elements changing place as the internal exchange of ideas between viewer and photograph rebounds back and forth.
This visual pressure cooker energizes the contents within the frame to resonate with the viewer’s sense of familiarity and proximity in a precarious balance between the world inside us and the one outside us. It is the intention of this body of work to combine both of these worlds together in concentricity in an effort to provide us with a singular medium for communication.