Whether Bogren is photographing dance halls nestled in the woods or young men gathering at night to bond over their love of fast cars, his work is always a feast for the senses. There’s something very loose and free about his work that is gratifying to experience.
One of the qualities that runs through Bogren’s various bodies of work is their dreamlike quality. He doesn’t look for technically perfect photos. And truthfully, that would be kind of boring. There’s more of an attention to feeling in Bogren’s work than any desire to show things as they a priori, “are.”
This sort of stream of conscious technique he applies to his work continues in his latest book, “Passenger” (lamaindonne, 2021).
Over the course of 92 pages and 52 photographs, Bogren takes us on a metaphysical journey through Calcutta. But it’s less about Calcutta than it is about that journey. This is in keeping with his previous work. But this time, Bogren mixes it all up a bit by the introduction of color. But this doesn’t take anything away fom his work’s dreamlike feel. If anything, it adds to it.
“Passenger” is work that chronicles Bogren’s inner journey. The photos just happen to have been made on a trip to Calcutta. They only peripherally say anything about the actual place. It doesn’t really matter where the photos are from. because they create their own little universe.
Mystery runs rampant throughout “Passenger.” It’s like we’re catching fleeting glimpses out of the side of our, or Bogren’s, eye—a bird on a pole, a man crawling up a staircase while a tree trunk bends over his outstretched body. Nothing is really all that clear. And that’s the point.
There are precious few words in the book, better to let you be free to sail in and out of the images. That said, the words found at the beginning of the book can be seen as the key to how it should be experienced:
“When we for a moment silence our minds and let go of understanding there is a knowing beyond, without thinking, without judgment, accusation or fear. We then see beauty for beauty itself without a need for analysis or mastery. Then we know who we really are. Meanwhile we are just passing through.”
When all is said and done, one of the only things in life that is really true is the fact that lt’s a journey. We will get some things right and a lot of things wrong as it goes along. It’s nice, every now and then, when we can surrender to the journey itself and unstress and unthink and just “be” even if, like a dream, it’s only fleeting.
In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff members and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.
You can see more of Bogren’s work on his website, here.