John Fontana hosted the Ilkley Camera Club’s meeting on Friday and introduced the speaker Christopher Roche. He was born in Quebec, Canada and has lived in Africa and several cities around Europe. He is now based in London.
Chris has won many awards internationally and he’s been published in international journals, exhibited at Royal Geographical Society in London and at United Nations Office at Geneva.
The theme of the talk was on his 5 year project, ‘Devotion’, which he described as capturing the beauty of the human spirit and a shared human desire to connect with something beyond ourselves. His journey, through which he captured intimate portrayals of faith traditions and worship, included the Himalayas, Chechnya, and holy Mount Kailash on the Tibetan plateau. He also traveled to a Kurdish village in the Zagros mountains of Iran and Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world; and to the highlands of northern Ethiopia.
Some of his most dynamic images captured the Islamic practice of Sufism, a mystical interpretation of Islam in which Muslims seek to find the divine truth through personal experience of God which is coming under threat and decline. “I Thought that I was getting a last glimpse of some of these traditions”, Chris explained.
A striking aspect of his photography was the intimacy he managed to achieve in his photographs and the trust he managed to gain of his subjects. This was all the more remarkable given the remote places he was visiting.
If you would like to read more about Chris’s project and work you can visit his website https://www.chrisrochephotographer.co.uk/