End Time City is Michael Ackerman’s radical portrayal of the Indian city of Benares (Varanasi), the holy City of Light on the shore of the Ganges. Ackerman’s photographs testify to the strong personal relationship and interaction of this sensitive artist with the city.
For a long time, I wanted to show pictures from India but everything seemed false, too glossy and therefore distorted. But Ackerman’s eye does justice to the place I think.
I had a completely raw, heart-felt, visceral engagement with the city. Almost every night that I spent in Benares I would go to sleep very, very desperate to wake up and have another chance to absorb what was there and connect with it. The city of Benares is an intense combination of fairy tale and nightmare. It is a very holy place to people and every day they come there by the hundreds, or thousands. It’s a never ending pilgrimage. At the same time it’s such a dark place where death is ever present. There’s just this poetic chaos to it, a beautiful urgency.