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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 desperation shown by the man on the ground behind her 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.

TONY COROCHER:
WEBSITE: www.tonycorocher.com
EMAIL: tony@tonycorocher.com

BEAUTY IN HELL PROJECT:
http://www.beautyinhell.com

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

2015      Black & White Spider Awards (Beverly Hills, CA) – 2 Honorable Mentions – Professional Category: Photo Journalism.
2015      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 3rd Prize Winner – Professional Category: Portraiture.
2015      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 2 Honorable Mentions – Professional Category.
2015      Art Photo Index by PhotoEye (Santa Fe, California) – Member on invitation – Selected network of international Fine Art Photographers
2014      Px3 | Prix De La Photographie (Paris) – 1st Prize Winner – Professional Category: Press.
2014      Px3 | Annual Curators Challenge (Paris) – 1st Prize Winner, 1 of 40 images selected by Bill Hunt, Curator (New York) & Daphne Angles, Photo Editor New York Times (Paris)
2014      IPA | International Photography Awards (Los Angeles) – Honorable Mention: Photo Essay & Feature Story, Pro Category
2014      IPA | International Photography Awards (Los Angeles) – Honorable Mention: Social Cause, Pro Category
2014      IPA | International Photography Awards (Los Angeles) – Honorable Mention: Environmental, Pro Category
2014      IPA | International Photography Awards (Los Angeles) – Honorable Mentions: General News, Pro Category
2014      HIPA | Hamdan International Photography Award, 2013-14 “Creating The future” (Dubai) – Shortlisted Finalist, Street Life Category
2014      LensCulture Portrait Awards (UK) – 1 of 25 Award-Winning Finalists – Documentary Category
2013      The Allard Prize Photo Competition for International Integrity (Canada) – November 2013 edition – 1st prize winner
2013      International Street Photography Challenge 2013 (New York) – 2nd prize winner
2013      TBM “Open Portfolio Contest – 2014” (Richmond – Texas) – Winner Individual Image Merit Award

 

EXHIBITIONS

2015      Poltu Quatu Resort – Personal Exhibition: “Beauty In Hell” + “Wabi-Sabi” | 12 June to 13 September – Poltu Quatu Resort, Costa Smeralda, Sardinina, Italy 2015
2015      Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival – Group Exhibition: 1 of 40 winning images from the PX3 Annual Curators Challenge | 1-28 February – Paris, 2014
2014      FONDAZIONE GHISLA ART COLLECTION (Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art), Locarno (Switzerland) – Solo Exhibition “Beauty In Hell 2013-2014” | 22 October to 31 December 2014 – Locarno 2015
2014      Arles Photo Festival (Le Magasin de Jouets Galerie) – Group Exhibition – PX3 First Award Winning images | Arles, 2014
2014      Rooftop Gallery (in collaboration with Le Flux Asia) – Group Exhibition: 1 of 40 best images from this year contest winners, selected by special guest curators Bill Hunt (Curator, New York) & Daphne Angles (Photo Editor New York Times, Paris) – 17 Oct 2014, Bangkok, Thailand.
2014      Espace Beaurepaire, Paris – Group Exhibition: 1 of 40 winning images from the PX3 Annual Curators Challenge | Paris, 2014
2014      Personal Exhibition in Locarno (Switzerland) at SWICA main offices – during the PARDO International Film Festival | 8 August to 18 October 2014
2014      Group Exhibition in Dubai – Group Exhibition from International Street Photography Challenge | May 2014
2013      Personal Exhibition in conjunction with La Biennale di Venezia 2013 – Bangladesh Pavillion | Venice 2013
2013      Presentation/Exhibition at Palazzo Cusani – “Beauty In Hell” Project – Milan | November 2013

 

PERMANENT COLLECTIONS

2014      FONDAZIONE GHISLA ART COLLECTION (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art | Locarno, Switzerland)
2 photographs 100x70cm from the “Beauty In Hell” Project (in their unique copy) became part of the Ghisla Art Collection.

 

ARTICLES | PUBLICATIONS | INTERVIEWS

2015      OFFICIAL 2015 CATALOG, GHISLA ART COLLECTION (Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art) – included in the Official 2015 Catalog as one of the artists included in the permanent collection.
2014      Tele Ticino (Lugano, Switzerland) – Live interview & Presentation of  the “Beauty In Hell” Project and Exhibition.
2014      Kunst Magazin – Article, Beauty In Hell Project and Exhibition
2014      LensCulture – Contemporary Photography (UK) – Published in the Editors’ Picks
2014      PX3 Annual Photo Book 2014 – Grand Prix De La Photographie Paris
2014      LensCulture – Article – 25 Top Winning Finalists of the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2014
2014      Oggi Treviso – Interview and article
2013      HIPA (Hamdan International Photography Award) – Annual Photo Book 2013/2014 “Creating the Future” – Dubai, 2014
2013      Witness Journal (N.58) – Official Selection
2013      Social Documentary – Featured Exhibit

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