10/27/02 A much-needed night out

10/27/02

A much-needed night out with members of my phylum tonight; my friend Ami Vitale happened to be in New York from New Delhi, and a small group of compatriots gathered at Von on Bleecker Street to celebrate her making it here in one piece. More amazingly, she isn’t even living in New Delhi anymore, having traded plush digs in India for the wilds of Kashmir, where she lives among the embattled people stuck between India and Pakistan, two countries threatening nuclear war over the little province. She moves from hotel to hotel, never sleeping in the same room more than three days in a row, just to keep the Islamist militants off her scent.

And why? To take pictures and document the unbelievable suffering of this people, and it looks like she’s one of the few photographers still trying. I’ve never known anyone from our generation with such talent and such a revulsion to self-advertising, making her the opposite of most so-called “artists” I’ve been unfortunate enough to meet of late. She truly takes pictures from some other place inside her, something very pure and scrubbed free of any kind of marketing sensibility. I’d imagine it allows her much more intimacy with her subjects, something that comes across in many of her photos (click here and peruse them for yourself, especially the Kashmir set).

me, Lindsay, Ami, Dave Surowiecki, Darren Ching and, of course, Lars Lucier

Ami seemed very relieved by our conversation, in which I convinced her that many if not most

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