COLORS OF INDIA photography exhibition brings the heat

July 15, 2015

Images of India are warm, sensuous

An exhibition of photographs by Jeffrey Becom will hang in Payne Hurd Gallery at the Allentown Art Museum from September 2 through December 6, 2015. The images in Jeffrey Becom: Colors of India reflect the photographer’s signature subject and style: the sensuous use of color to transform architectural imagery into lush, painterly, colorist compositions. Coming to fine art photography as a painter and architect, Becom has spent the last thirty years revealing the stories and symbolism behind the brightly painted walls of traditional villages from the Mediterranean and Mexico to the Highlands of Guatemala and Peru.

“It was only a matter of time before I turned my camera to the subcontinent of Asia,” says Becom. “After all, India is synonymous with brilliant colors, myriad faiths and some of the earliest societies on earth. Color and faith profoundly envelop Indian life on all levels. I worked mainly in small towns and villages located well off the tourist routes where color and religious ritual are most deeply entwined and intact.”

Becom has come to find his inspiration in ever-more remote places populated by indigenous, ritual-bound people whose architectural color springs organically from their history, geography, and faith. He considers his photographs to be documentary: the colors, subjects, and details are captured as found. He has long relied on traditional equipment and materials and printed using traditional wet darkroom techniques and the Ilfochrome process. Only with this new India series has he entered the digital realm and begun producing film-based images as pigment ink prints on German etching paper.

California-based Becom is also a writer, designer, and visual anthropologist. With his partner, Sally Aberg, he has authored two award-winning books, Mediterranean Color and Maya Color: The Painted Villages of Mesoamerica (both from Abbeville Press, New York, 1990 and 1997). He is the subject of an hour-long PBS/BBC documentary entitled For the Colors: A Journey through Italy. Becom’s work is held in public and private collections worldwide and represented by ten fine art photography galleries across the country. His work was featured in the inaugural issue of COLOR magazine, in April 2009.

Colors of India has been supported through the generosity of the Audrey and Bernard Berman Endowment Fund, the Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This exhibition is part of