Christian De Souza, a former DJ Mag photographer, has just published a fantastic-looking ‘coffee table’ art book — Postcards From Babylon: A Rough Guide To Liberation.
The book tells the story of his journey through pictures from his photography career, with words penned by Christian as well.
Christian started off at DJ Mag in 1999 with a shoot of then-unknown drum & bass kru Artificial Intelligence, and the book documents some of the trips he made for the magazine to various international cities and festivals over the coming years. “Working as a freelancer photographer, I was able to take on commissions for work that was connected to the ideas I had for the book,” Christian tells DJ Mag. “As music was central to the whole thing, working with DJ Mag was great because it gave me access to living legends in electronic music like Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Masters At Work, David Morales, Goldie, Danny Rampling and so many others.”
Going to somewhere like Detroit, birthplace of techno, also allowed Christian to shoot other images, and the Detroit section is one of the strongest in the book. “The reason why I've always been fascinated by Detroit techno — as well as the fact it blows my socks off on the dancefloor — is because it was a given, right from the beginning, that the energy of the music was borne out of the rundown dystopian Detroit landscape in the 1980s,” he believes. “I wanted to take that idea further, to explore what the experience of listening and dancing to electronic music is as a source of strength and creative energy in our lives.”
Christian talks about music being entertainment but also as “soul food” to inspire us through the working week. “Sometimes music even has the power to change our lives,” he says. “Ultimately, I think that music points us in the direction of our dreams and opens up possibilities for freedom, if we want it.”
Christian now teaches Five Rhythms dance classes — a form of stimulant-free dance that draws on eastern philosophies (that he once wrote about for DJ Mag) — as well as continuing his photography work. “Postcards From Babylon is a book about the state of the world and how we're living in these pretty chaotic hi-tech times,” he says, “and one of the main ideas in the book is that electronic music is a response to the challenges of living in an urban capitalist system, that through music we can find liberation, whatever that means to us as different people.”
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