‘This image was a breakthrough. I began to see the world anew’
Ed Kashi regards his shot of a California aerial tram ride as a personal turning point. For three decades, on assignment in countries including Nigeria, Iraq and Pakistan, he had taken countless images of civil discord and extreme suffering. “I had absorbed that trauma – many photojournalists do. Often our singular goal is to get as close as possible to the most horrible things on Earth and document them,” Kashi says. “I needed to rehabilitate myself, to make a photo that was soft, beautiful and candy-coloured – to expand my emotional range. This image was a breakthrough. I began to see the world anew.”
Kashi describes this period as the “Plasticine era of Instagram”, a time when the smartphone was transitioning from “a fun, novelty toy to a viable tool for an image maker”.