Ryan Lobo has traveled the world, taking photographs that tell stories of unusual human lives. In this haunting talk, he reframes controversial subjects with empathy, so that we see the pain of a Liberian war criminal, the quiet strength of UN women peacekeepers and the perseverance of Delhi’s underappreciated firefighters.
During a recent shoot on the streets and beaches of Chennai, Ryan Lobo turned his lens on men and women in relaxed, after-work poses. His starkly beautiful black-and-white photos, Lobo writes, reveal what it’s like “to be young, employed and alive in Chennai today, regardless of one’s language, economic class or social skills.” This follows the theme of Lobo’s career: breaking down stereotypes while reframing the landscape.
Since 2001, Lobo has been taking haunting stills of everything from Yakuza tattoos and the illegal organ trade to the Indian middle class. He’s worked as a field producer on many nature-oriented shows for National Geographic and founded Mad Monitor Productions, a production company based in Bangalore and Washington, D.C. There’s no scientific, economic or sociopolitical boundary Lobo isn’t willing to cross. His intense fieldwork continues to illuminate his traveling (you can read about his journeys and see photographs on his blog) and a forthcoming book project.
“I have attempted to delve beneath clichés and with photographs tell stories about the secrets, trials and ethos of urban Chennai.” Ryan Lobo