ClampArt is pleased to present Manjari Sharma’s “Shower Series.” Four years back, Sharma discovered the best way to get a subject to relax in front of her camera lens was to get them in the shower.
Shooting in her own apartment in Brooklyn, the artist invited friends and acquaintances over to sit for a portrait. What she eventually realized was that much of the awkwardness and anxiety of posing for a picture strangely melted away in the intimacy of a shower.
Once they would agree, Sharma’s subjects almost invariably relaxed in demeanor and conversation as the warm water began to flow. Standing in that private space typically only shared by a parent or a lover, the artist now has heard about the emotional journeys of a number of people. For a feature on the series written by Lauren Russell for CNN, Sharma stated, “The shower creates this confessional-like space.”
Customarily, Sharma would begin the dialogue with simple questions, allowing people to open up over time. “It was like Russian dolls, and it became more and more personal,” she says. Sharma feels the best photographs are those in which the subject shared the most—both conversationally and physically. Those who could not make eye contact with the camera seemed to be the ones who had the most difficulty surmounting their reticence.
Sharma concludes, “I have been told by my sub-jects that it is thrilling and adventuresome to be in my shower. Secretly cheating my traditional and tame Indian upbringing, I live through all of my subjects—fighting their wars and braving their fears for those few hours where we are connected through this pious space. I continue to investigate this photo project, which has thus far given rise to some of the fastest, most disarming relationships I have ever formed.”
Manjari Sharma (b. 1979) is a photographer born and raised in Mumbai, India, now based in Brooklyn, New York. She has a BA in Visual Communication from S.N.D.T. University, Mumbai, and a BFA in Still Photography from Columbia College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. Her images have appeared in such publications as Forbes India Magazine, Vogue India, and Geo Magazine, and online at NPR, The New York Times, PDN, The Huffington Post, and Life Magazine. Sharma received an honorable mention for the prestigious Santa Fe Prize in 2012, and she was invited as a “Shots and Works” artist for LOOK 3: Festival of the Photograph in 2013.
This exhibition is generously supported by Rayographix Fine Art Digital Printing in Bushwick Brooklyn, New York.