Leaving Jodhpur Photographs by Niobe Syme

Niobe Syme is a photomedia artist and writer based in the Blue Mountains. She specialises in conceptual, portrait and documentary photography and writes poetry and fiction.

Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions, awards and publications. Syme holds degrees in: Master of Documentary Photography (Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney), Master of Arts in Writing (by research, University of Technology, Sydney), Graduate Diploma in Book Editing and Publishing (Macleay College) and a Bachelor of Arts (double major in Psychology and Communication Studies, Murdoch University).

A recipient of an Australia Council ArtStart Grant in 2011/12, Syme’s photographs have been exhibited and awarded in Australia and overseas. Leaving Jodhpur is her first solo exhibition. In Western Rajasthan, just 28km from Jodhpur City, Niobe has worked closely with SKSN – Sucheta Kriplani Shiksha Niketana School for the physically challenged  www.sksn.org  Here she has worked with the students on film and photographic projects and some of these photographs are on her website.

The exhibition will run until 21 July at 126 Regent Street, Redfern NSW 2016. This is open Wed – Sat 12–5 or by Appointment 0402 112 755. You can email sandy@arthere.com.au or visit www.arthere.com.au to get more details about this exhibition.

Niobe Syme  is looking to re-exhibit this work in the Blue Mountains, where she lives.

Leaving Jodhpur is a collection of intriguingly beautiful, cinematic and emotional images, created by an observant and curious photographer. Leaving Jodhpur arises out of impressions from one long hot summer’s train journey across Rajasthan, travelling from Jodhpur to Delhi.

The heat and light at different times of the day, combined with the way the smudgy marks on the carriage windows of the train provide instant camera-lens filters, have aided Syme in rendering this series of photographs with a delicate softness and humming ambience – providing the viewer with a sense of mystery and disconnection.

This journey also inspired a poem of the same name (published as part of a chapbook collection Beheld by Vagabond Press in 2012).

Syme is most fascinated by the human psyche and spirit, which underlies her studies in psychology and the arts and her concerns in portrait, documentary and conceptual photography. Her work and studies reflect an abiding interest in character and a fascination with perception surrounding sense, meaning and time.

Talking to Indian Herald about her India experiences, Niobe Syme said, “Though I grew up in the long hot summers of Western Australia, nothing could have prepared me for the searing heat and dust of Rajasthan, nor its special beauty. Over a number of visits to Jodhpur in recent years I have found myself at once incredibly engaged and also overwhelmed as so much life rushes to fill every moment. An outsider in this part of the world, I find that I am somehow ‘other’ even to myself. The camera affords a certain space between me and a reality so vast and unknowable that I take comfort in the convention of a frame. ”

“It is as though I am able to comprehend more deeply, with greater perspective, to translate, if you like, with the sensory gates just slightly less open. And so it was that, on a long train journey from Jodhpur, I welcomed the warp and stains of the carriage windows as a filter bringing to the frame form and feelings that rang strange and true and resonated too with memories of Australian heat and mineral and sand and an ancient endless expanse.”


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