Joe Dowling is from Auckland, New Zealand. His photographic practice focuses on the struggles, faces, and banal aspects of day-to-day human existence in places of unrest, violence, and adversity. In 2014 he flew to Afghanistan to begin this documentation in earnest, and subsequently spent a year living in Northern Iraq as ISIS cut swathes through the territory. His first solo exhibition, A Window That Isn’t There, recounted this experience — from frontline soldiers to mundane scenes, the show gave viewers a look into the quieter parts of a world that is frequently sensationalized in our media.
His next major project Curfew Yellow, was shot in Kashmir, Northern India, and figuratively displays the identity crises and struggles of a muslim minority under a Hindu hegemony.
Dowling works exclusively on film which dictates the staged spontaneity of his images — photographer and subject are engaged in the process, and the merited pauses associated with measuring light and careful timing of photographing on film, give the images a considered element both through composition and the poise of the subject. Dowling currently lives in Auckland where he works as an art gallery technician, and continues to work on various photographic projects.
Curfew Yellow is a mediation on conflict and identity in India’s Northern region, Jammu & Kashmir.
The area is marred by frequent curfews, restricted communications, violent protest, militancy, and oppression at the hands of the Indian government.
The project was shot on 120mm film over two months of attending demonstrations, traveling the region, and speaking to the people — where an overwhelming sense of disenfranchisement gives way to a languid defiance. With the conflict having waged for decades, there is a sense of going through the motions, a sense of repetition, and a sense of dilution, concealment, and opacity of Kashmiri identity.
To view more of Joe Dowling’s work please visit his website.