“I want to offer stories that are closer to everyday lives, magical moments and intimacy in the ordinary.” – Kin Coedel
Kin Coedel’s captivating, dreamy, imagery, captures real human stories, with a sensitivity and artistry befitting of the subject.
He first became interested in photography whilst studying fine art in Canada. Though the main focus of his studies was print media, he often collaborated with photographers in his work which inspired him to purchase a cheap film camera at a flea market and to photograph his surroundings, whilst also exploring the darkroom and hand printing processes.
His love of film photography remains a key tent of his practice today. His personal work is shot exclusively on analog cameras – a Minolta 35mm, and a Pentax and Contax for 120mm, using Fujifilm or Kodak film depending on his mood – and it is hard to imagine the images would have the same impact were they shot digitally.
Now based in Paris, he travels extensively, both for commercial assignments and personal documentary projects which are sensitive, absorbing, and at times, poetic. Using the alluring, almost sensual visual language more commonly associated with fashion than documentary, he conveys the stories of those he photographs with clarity and perceptivity.
KAMMAN & DHADDA his 2020 series, documents the annual Uttarayan Festival, in Gujarat, western India. Held to celebrate the winter solstice, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the flying of hand-made paper and bamboo kites and unites people of all faiths, and casts.
Coedel captures this conviviality beautifully. Sikh men in brightly hued turbans which mirror the myriad kites that punctuate the bright blue sky; young Muslims in monochrome, and Hindu women in brightly-hued attire; schoolchildren, police, and more. All are rendered in a soft pastel palette, subtle and tactile thanks to the analog format, and his masterful appropriation of the late afternoon sun.
DYAL THAK, his most recent series is similarly absorbing. Created in 2021 on the Tibetan plateau and the surrounding area, it captures the beauty, and culture of this incredible region, (sometimes known as ‘The Roof of the World’) which appears all but untouched by the sweeping hand of modernity.
In Tibetan, DYAL THAK translates as ‘a common thread’, and the majority of images in the series depict the tight-knit community of majority-led craftswomen from the village of Ritoma, many of whom are generational weavers, yarn-spinners and wool felters, who have utilised what the surrounding area has to offer them to build a thriving village-based industry.
His eye for light, form and tone are once again on display, engendering atmospheric, painting-like images that collectively communicate the deep connection between the people and their environment. His delicate, considered approach is apt, mirroring both the fineness of the thread which is central to this community and the fragility of the natural surroundings upon which it relies.
Aesthetically beautiful yet simultaneously informative, it epitomizes his approach and demonstrates why Coedel should be considered one of the most intriguing rising visual storytellers of today.
“I have wanted to explore eastern cultures and communities and tell stories in ways that are different from western narratives. Media and photographers from the west often depict and talk about eastern cultures in ways that very much essentialize them to only a few political discourses, and I want to offer stories that are closer to everyday lives, magical moments and intimacy in the ordinary.”
All images © Kin Coedel