Tech by VICE

Photos of India’s Quiet Places

Kate Golding visited the most frenzied place on earth to shoot a book about stillness.

by Kate Golding
Mar 2 2015, 12:00am

Photographer Kate Golding has a knack for the serene. Shooting in some of the most hectic and overwhelming places on earth, she always manages to draw out a moment of calm. This month she released her first photo book Within You Without You. The photos inside are a meditative exploration of India, including the ashram the Beatles escaped to in the late 60s while seeking a break from their own hysteria.

VICE: How did your book come about?
Kate Golding: So I went to India in 2013 and shot all the work when I was there. I always intended to do something with it, but I wasn't sure what. I pretty much just wanted to see something through to completion so it's not just on my hard drive, it's actually out there in the world.

It really feels like photo books are flourishing at the moment.
Absolutely. I think there's that DIY aspect with things like print on demand and HP Indigo printers—which is what I printed the book on. Now you can get away without doing offset, but still get reasonably good print quality. It's just easier than trying to fit into the curatorial view of what galleries want. You can make a work that can have quite far reach as well, and not just be in Melbourne.

Tell me about the title.
It's is a small nod to the Beatles' track, some of the shots were taken inside the Ashram that they visited in '68. Including the Dome image.

The main reason I visited, was to try and strengthen my yoga practice and meditation and all that sort of thing, just trying to learn. I'd seen the Steve McCurry kind of photos, with all the people and bright colors, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I didn't want to photograph India that way.

There's a strong theme of solitude throughout the series, is that something you intended to do or something that happened subconsciously?
I do tend to seek out areas that are a bit quieter I guess, that's what I tend to look for when I'm shooting. A big Hasselblad isn't an easy camera to travel with either, so the times I did go out to shoot, I was very much trying to be calm and still as well, very conscious of the way I was shooting.

Would you say your photography is an extension of your meditation or something separate?
The book is treated as a meditation in a way, it was definitely something I was trying to achieve in the way I sequenced things. You'll notice a few times images repeat but are slightly different than the time before. Like how thoughts take on different flavors as they come around in again during mediation.

I find all that stuff really interesting, like how each time you pull a memory out of your bank, it changes what the actual memory is.
Absolutely, and it can be skewed by someone else's telling of it. For instance, I don't know if this happens with you, but I'll be telling a story with my parents about something in my childhood and they'll be like, "That's not what happened at all". And you think wow, I've built my whole identity around that and it didn't even exist.

Within You Without You is available through Kate's website.

Words by Ben Thomson. Follow him on Instagram.