Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ami Vitale


picture courtesy: amivitale.com
Have you checked Ami Vitale's website in the "Some Interesting Websites" section on this blog. I have put it on top of the list because I happen to visit it couple of days ago, and saw that it has been redesigned. It was just by chance that I discovered Ami's website.

I first heard about Ami about six-seven years ago. Ami had come to India and based herself in Kashmir to cover the conflict. Later, she won a World Press Photo award for one of her Kashmir pictures.

That's when I searched and found her website. It was the simplicity of the website that struck a chord. Clean, minimalistic design, and focus firmly on the pictures she has made in different countries. She has also added other features to the website.

What differentiates Ami from the other global photographers is that she is not into "spot news" photography. She is into much deeper things than capturing the on-the-spot action pictures or the blood, gore and shock of world conflicts though to be fast enough to freeze the action in a moment is a skill of a different kind. What was striking about her work was her complete involvement with her subjects in which ever country she has travelled. Usually, foreign photographers see a country and its culture from outside-in perspective, but I thought Ami saw India from the inside-out perspective. So, her pictures are not about cows-walking-the-city-roads and snake-charmers.

We were in the middle of organising a national photocontest in 2005, and I was trying to invite her as a jury. But, she was busy travelling and shooting, and couldn’t make it. So, I persuaded her to write a piece about Kashmir that she covered, and despite her schedule, she managed to write and send her pictures for the photo-book that we published. Then she vanished again and now she has emerged in Miami, Florida! Some day I hope to get her to Mumbai to speak and participate in our activities.

I am posting couple of her interviews to give you a glimpse of Ami Vitale. More power to her!

Interview by James Robinson
Do check her pictures from Guinea Bissau at the end of this interview. Interview by Susan Markisz
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