Special edition print, Gaibo, 11×14 inch

Zubin Schroff 

The Cosmopolitans – Special Edition book + print, 2008

This new book from Zubin Schroff is a wonderful collection of portraits spanning the last 10 years. The Cosmopolitans is a multi-cultural study of what it means to be a part of a fast paced global village in a time when “globalization” is making the world a smaller place. For me, before I picked up this book, a “cosmopolitan” had a certain look; jet-set, well-to-do, a bit pretentious. Zubin has brought together such a vast array of striking portraits from 6 continents, reminding us that a cosmopolitan is simply anyone who is at home in varoius cultures, a trait which has crossed all pre-conceived notions of who we may or may not consider to be “global citizens”. There are already so many interesting socio-political-anthropological-theoretical-texts written about this book, I just want to remind everyone (myself included) that if you theorize too much about photography you start to mistake it for an intellectual pursuit. 

In The Cosmopolitans, photographer Zubin Shroff places his formal, studied portraits in the liminal spaces where our rapidly advancing global culture is continually being shaped. In doing so he questions the notion of cosmopolitanism and challenges the way in which we perceive each other and who we may consider a global citizen. Photographed on six continents, the portraits include Shroff’s family and friends alongside pilgrims, artists, construction workers, and actors from both Bollywood and Hollywood. Shroff includes his own self-portrait, locating himself as both the author of the work and a denizen of the changing world he is depicting. (Dashwood)

Though at first these images have a sense of typography about them, it is the exclusion of the typographical labels that sets it apart; occupation, nationality, status or title are replaced by the most individual label that we all posses; our first name. Even the photographer himself is in the midst of it all, unpretentious and unnoticable if not for the familair cable release almost hidden in his hand.

This book is published by Veenman and sells for 60 USD.

There is also a special editon available of the image above titled “Gaibo”. It is 11×14 inches in a slip case with the book, limited to 50 copies for 300,- USD.

You can get the special edition via the great homepage which which was created to promote the book or you can find it at selected bookstores. I would really recommend reading the discussion/interview on the homepage between ZS and Robert Stam and Ella Shohat. 

If you happen to be in NY, or cosmopolitan enough to get there tonight, then you should stop by Dashwood where there is a book signing:

The Cosmopolitans by Zubin Shroff
published by Veenman
Price $60

Wednesday October 15th
6-8 pm
Dashwood Books
33 Bond Street
between Bowery and Lafayette
Tel 212.387.8520