"A sequel to 'Bangkok Beauties', this collection of found photographs comprises a selection of pieces discovered by Erik Kessels in Mumbai. It depicts a rich mix of ordinary subjects, from hairdressers' models to family shots to wedding images. Mixed in with this cross section of typical folk are rare shots of Bollywood actors and stars.
Taken together, these show the rich diversity of the city, hinting at its untold stories and lives." (publisher's note)
"A little gem containing exactly 29 images, all of them in B&W, all of them showing female backs and occiputs. Which is basically all there is to say with certainty about the content of 'Bombay Beauties'.
The images are a selection from a larger collection of photographs dug up in Mumbai by Dutch collector and editor Erik Kessels. Apparently made by several anonymous photographers, the images also depict anonymous sitters. Backgrounds - a wall, a curtain, a might-be studio - don't offer any clue whatsoever. Although the title indicates them as pre 1996 (the year in which Bombay was renamed Mumbai), an actual timeframe is not specified.
The book (booklet, rather) is a sequel to the 2007 release 'Bangkok Beauties', which followed a more or less comparable visual procedure but presented facial shots made during a beauty contest.
In his publisher's description, Kessels mentions hairdressers' models, family shots, wedding images and rare shots of Bollywood actors and stars. However, the images being strikingly similar, it's hard to tell which one is what exactly. Which of course is part of the fun: to muse over the necklaces, earrings, diadems, meticulous haircuts, and embroidered dresses. To reflect on the occasions and the purposes of it all, and to wonder about all the faces that went with all these backs. Kessel himself hints at Mumbai's untold stories and lives. Although this might be called too grand a claim, 'B.B.' definitely has more to offer than meets the eye.
Nice detail on the cover by the way, with typography made up from fragments of the haircuts depicted inside." (Eddie Marsman, photography critic, editor & projects organizer, who's living in Groningen, the Netherlands, where he also teaches at the local Fotoacademie. A regular contributor to NRC Handelsblad, the leading Dutch national evening newspaper, he has written, edited and contributed to several books on Dutch photography and photographers. He usually adds that this is not even half the story)
Das Buch versammelt Aufnahmen rückseitiger Portraits. Im Vordergrund stehen die Vielfalt indischer Haargestaltung. Der niederländische Designer Erik Kessels verwendete das gefundene Material, um daran "in Anspielung auf unausgesprochene Lebensgeschichten die reiche Vielfalt der Stadt zu zeigen".
Erik Kessels ist Fotograf, Designer und Mitgründer der Werbefirma 'KesselsKramer', die nebenbei auch Foto-Publikationen in kleiner Auflage von 250 bis 500 Exemplaren herausgibt. Kessels durchstreift häufig Flohmärkte auf der Suche nach interessanten Dingen, die z.B. Amateurfotos offenbaren.
So sind in den letzten 10 Jahren neben den Serien 'In Almost Every Picture' und 'Useful Photography' diverse Softcover-Büchlein im selben Format wie 'Bombay Beauties' erschienen. Inzwischen sind die meisten Ausgaben vergriffen.
Weitere KesselsKramer cahiers: 'American Zoo' (ed.: Jennifer Skupin), 'Anonymous' (ed.: Ewoudt Boonstra), 'Bad Food Gone Worse' (ed.: Ewoudt Boonstra & René Nuijens), 'Bangkok Beauties' (2007, ed.: Erik Kessels), 'Brussels Beauties' (ed.: Erik Kessels), 'Couples' (2008, ed.: Erik Kessels), 'Photo Cubes' (ed.: Erik Kessels), 'Strangers in My Photo Album' (2007, ed.: Erik Kessels), 'Tree Paintings' (ed.: Erik Kessels).