For our annual photo issue we reached out to 16 up-and-coming photographers and asked them which photographer inspired them to pursue the medium. Then we approached their "idols" to see if they would be willing to publish work in the issue as well. What was provided, we think, creates a unique conversation about the line of influence between young artists and those more established in their careers. This post features work by Nishant Shukla and his chosen idol, Jim Goldberg.
Seeking Moksha, the book project featured here, is the product of Nishant Shukla's numerous journeys to the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, India, between 2011 and 2016. Shukla made his first trip to this principal source of the Ganges to collect its water for his grandfather, a Hindu priest close to death, who he hoped would be comforted by this physical connection to the river. On Shukla's return, he found his grandfather's condition had deteriorated, and he no longer recognized Shukla. The experience spurred on similar travels and inspired him to consider the life of India's religious ascetics, many of whom live in isolation and by vows of silence.
For ten years, Jim Goldberg worked closely with and documented runaway teenagers in the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Through a book and traveling exhibition, he expanded on a style of documentary photography using original photographs, text, and a variety of other elements such as home-movie stills, family snapshots, drawings, diary entries, audio, film, and discarded belongings. Goldberg's work looks at the beauty and complexity of human life, the way it persists despite pervasive forms of social and spiritual poverty. It shows the diverse ways that people struggle to affirm their dignity and integrity when social circumstance, time, and situation work against them.