Photo: Les Films du Tambour/Album/Alamy.
Photo: Les Films du Tambour/Album/Alamy.
Winter 2022

Layered Exposures

A Note from the Editors

What does home mean to the displaced? How can the lens of history bring our present into focus? Every encounter and experience we face holds the power to shift our vision, reorienting us to bask in the radiance of insight.

In the winter 2022 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you layered exposures — stories that cast new light on familiar narratives.

Our journey begins in Musella, Georgia, where documentarian Eric Dusenbery happens upon the backdrop for a series of Depression-era portraits by iconic photographer Dorothea Lange. Equipped with a large format camera — and aided by uncommon reserves of patience — he sets off on a Time Travel project to capture modern agrarian life “Through the Lens of Our Forebears.”

Worlds away, but also guided by the unparalleled power of images, writer and filmmaker Paul Fischer sends a beam of light into the darkness of Gaza City. His Chasing Demons feature, “Gazawood Dreams,” follows a pair of prolific twins, known as Tarzan and Arab, who are obsessed with the transportive promise of the movies — a fixation that ultimately proves prescient.

Determination in the face of occupation and violence also lays the foundation for Joshua Zukas’s intimate Portrait of Hue, Vietnam, a city often defined by the legacy of its imperial days — and the devastation it endured during the Tet Offensive of 1968. Peeling back several tumultuous decades of postcolonial Vietnam, “A House of Many Hues” zeroes in on one family, split into factions — and its matriarch’s conviction to hold on to her home amid seemingly insurmountable odds.

Stolen heritage, recovered artifacts, and sacred rituals from antiquity — an improbable amalgam of forces meld together in “The Crucible of Patrimony.” Meenakshi J’s Quest to understand the multifaceted secrets embedded in Chola bronze idols, still cast by hand in her native Tamil Nadu, extends from village foundries and temples in southern India to prestigious galleries in Manhattan to networks of thieves and vigilantes around the globe.

Finally, sometimes we all need a jolt of uncertainty to get our bearings — and to light up our worlds with wonder. On a darkened beach in California, the phenomenon known as a red tide triggers waves of perception, dopamine, and, ultimately, “Flickering Imprints” of cognition. Guided by lab work on learning, writer and scientist Dr. Rachel Blaser takes us from microscopic algae to neural networks on a luminous circuit through the Human & Nature interplay.

As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.

Until the next voyage,

Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor

Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders