Dominic Sansoni doesn’t like to discuss his creative philosophy. Indeed, he would have you believe he lacks one. ‘I see a picture worth taking,’ he says. ‘I point the camera. I shoot.’ Yeah, sure. It’s a journalist’s excuse, one that’s as old as the profession, and now that the dust has settled from all that twentieth-century modernist idol-smashing, artists like to take refuge in it too. I mean, how cool is it these days to have an agenda? But it’s nonsense, of course. If you’re a creative person, then you have a creative philosophy. The fact that you’re not very good at articulating it is neither here nor there. If you were good at putting that kind of stuff into words, you’d be a writer. You’re not, so you make pictures instead.
So what can we deduce about Dominic’s creative approach from his pictures? Well, the salient feature is probably his traditionalism. At times his work seems almost curatorial, though even the hoariest of subjects gets a little post-modern twist somewhere in the frame (look for it). His colour photographs of Sri Lankan and Asian subjects display a love for what is past, what is obsolete and what is nearly extinct: an intuitive sympathy, maybe even a touch of nostalgia from time to time but thank heavens no sentimentality. Enjoy.
Dominic Sansoni was born in Colombo in 1956. He was educated at St. Peter’s College, Colombo and Farnham College of Art, England and graduated in 1979. He has worked as a professional photographer since 1980 and his pictures have appeared in TIME, Newsweek, Asiaweek & Meridiani. He has published several books of his work, including Sri Lanka -Resplendent Isle and ‘Lunuganga Geoffrey Bawa’s garden’. In 1995 he held his first exhibition at the Barefoot Gallery in Colombo.
Dominic Sansoni is married and lives in Colombo with his wife and their five children.