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Beauty In Hell

Tony Corocher | Nairobi, Mathare and Kibera Slums, Kenya

Contrasts: Curiosity & diffidence, desperation & indifference | Through the streets of Mathare Slum (Nairobi). The contrast between the innocent beauty of the young girl, the vivid diffidence of the boy behind her, the finality of the desperation shown by the man on the ground and the indifference of the people passing by. This is the ensemble of feelings that runs through these slums every day.

A personal photographic project that started 3 years ago. The project objective is to find and document the beauty present in some of the most difficult, poverty stricken and dangerous realities around the world.
In this particular case, 2 of the largest and toughest slums in the world: Mathare and Kibera (inside Nairobi). These are places where it is not only difficult to enter, but it is extremely risky to move around and get any kind of documentation.
Places where you come in contact with unimaginable, shocking and sometimes incredible situations, but also where a sense of community and solidarity gives these people the strength to carry on day by day. Places where a quality of life that we would normally consider extremely low is already a luxury, which very few residents can afford. Places where there is little or no running water and where the cumulative sewage of hundreds of thousand of people flows through open ditches.
I am talking about a slow and systematic destruction of the basic human rights and dignity that continued for almost 50 years.

WHERE DOES THE DESIRE TO FIND BEAUTY IN THESE PLACES COME FROM? AND WHY TRY TO FIND IT HERE?
It is born as a critic and personal response to an increased awareness of living within a system that uses drama everywhere. I believe we are now unconsciously accustomed to consider an event interesting and noteworthy only if it contains some form of strong contrast, therefore if it is dramatic. Without drama there is no news and everything becomes boring, dull and not worth of our time. In simple terms we tend to use drama to make sensationalism.
With "Beauty In Hell" I am trying to express, through artistic sensibility and not sensationalism, exactly the opposite and show that also within these extremely hard situations beauty is always present… that the beauty inside the human being is present everywhere, even in places that could only be described as real life circles of Dante's Inferno.

WHERE CAN THIS BEAUTY BE SEEN AND WHAT DOES IT CONSIST OF?
Clearly any form of beauty in these places is not an easy thing to find. First of all we need to feel it inside ourselves, so that we will first be able to see it and then find a way to make people willing to show it. It can be seen in the eyes of the locals, in their daily activities, in the smiles with which they welcome you, but also in the rage and aggressiveness with which they approach you… in a few words in the spontaneity, simplicity and lack of malice with which they act.
Beauty is clearly visible in the sense of community and sharing that our society has nearly lost or perhaps has simply forgotten.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS (links on my website)

2016      IPA | International Photography Awards (LA) – 2 Honorable Mentions: “Family of Man” Competition. Childhood and Love Categories.
2016      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – Honorable Mention – Pro Category: Press/Featured Story.
2015      Black & White Spider Awards (Los Angeles, CA) – 2 Honorable Mentions – Pro Category: Photo Journalism.
2015      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 3rd Prize – Pro Category: Portraiture.
2015      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 2 Honorable Mentions – Pro Category: Nature/Landscape + Portraiture/Culture.
2014      LensCulture Portrait Awards (UK) – 1 of 25 Award Winning Finalists – Pro Category: Documentary.
2014      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 1st Prize Winner – Pro Category: Press.
2014      Px3 | Annual Curators Challenge (Paris) – 1st Prize – 1 of 40 images selected by Bill Hunt, Curator (New York) & Daphne Angles, Photo Editor New York Times (Paris).
2014      IPA | International Photography Awards (LA) – 4 Honorable Mentions – Pro Categories: Photo Essay & Feature Story – Social Cause – Environmental – General News.
2014      HIPA | Hamdan International Photography Award – “Creating The future” (Dubai) – Shortlisted Finalist, Street Life Category.
2014      Art Photo Index by PhotoEye (Santa Fe, California) – Member on invitation – Selected network of Fine Art Photographers.
2013      The Allard Prize Photo Competition for International Integrity (Canada) – 1st prize, November 2013 edition.
2013      International Street Photography Challenge 2013 (New York) – 2nd prize.
2013      TBM “Open Portfolio Contest – 2013” (Richmond – Texas) – Winner Individual Image Merit Award.

 

EXHIBITIONS (links on my website)

2016      MILAN PHOTO FESTIVAL | “PERIFERIE: Immagini e Parole” – Group Exhibition – 3 photos from the Beauty In Hell Project | 7 to 26 May, Milan.
2015      Poltu Quatu Resort – Solo Exhibition: “Beauty In Hell” + “Wabi-Sabi” Projects | 12 June – 13 Sept. Poltu Quatu Resort, Costa Smeralda, Sardinina, Italy.
2015      Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival (France Cultural Center) – Group Exhibition: 40 winning images from the Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) Annual Curators Challenge | 1-28 February.
2014      Fondazione Ghisla Art Collection (Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art), Locarno (Switzerland) – Solo Exhibition “Beauty In Hell” | 22/10 to 31/12/2014.
2014      Rooftop Gallery (in collaboration with Le Flux Asia) – Group Exhibition: 40 winning images from the Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) Annual Curators Challenge, selected by special guest curators Bill Hunt (Curator, NY – Patron L’Oeil De La Photographie) & Daphne Angles (Photo Editor NY Times, Paris) – 17 Oct, Bangkok, Thailand.
2014      Solo Exhibition in Locarno (Switzerland) at SWICA main offices – during the PARDO International Film Festival | 8 August to 18 October 2014.
2013      Arles Photo Festival (Le Magasin de Jouets Galerie) – Group Exhibition as Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) First Prize Winner (Press Professional Category) and Annual Curators Challenge Winner | 4 July, Cave de Tinquetaille, Arles.
2013      Espace Beaurepaire, Paris – Group Exhibition: 40 winning images from the Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) Annual Curators Challenge.
2013      Solo Exhibition in conjunction with La Biennale di Venezia 2013 – Bangladesh Pavillion | Venice 2013.
2013      Solo Exhibition at Palazzo Cusani – “Beauty In Hell” Project – Milan | November 2013.
2013      Group Exhibition in Dubai – Group Exhibition from International Street Photography Challenge | May 2014.

 

PERMANENT COLLECTIONS (links on my website)

2014-15-16     FONDAZIONE GHISLA ART COLLECTION (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art | Locarno, Switzerland) – 2 photographs 100×70 cm from the “Beauty In Hell” Project (in their unique copy) became part of the permanent Ghisla Art Collection.

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