Surjit Simplay, “Eye to Eye”, Artists Newsletter, March 1997

Eddie Chambers: Your photographs are beautifully crafted and skilfully produced pieces of work. But at the same time they give the appearance of being, more than anything else, functional photographs. That is to say, your photography looks like it serves distinct purposes that go way beyond the parameters of conventional fine art photography. 

Surjit Simplay; Yes, one of the main functions of my photography is for the audience to engage with the images – to question and discuss them, to agree or disagree with them. I’d like my photography to be seen as dialogue in which my opinions are expressed visually.

EC: The subject matter of your photography is wide-ranging, but If I had to summarise your photography, I would probably suggest that amongst other things it took as its starting point the politics of so-called ‘mixed’ relationships and perceptions of sexuality, with specific regard to the Indian woman. Are these reasonable suggestions?

SS: Yes. Looking at the images I have produced, the majority of them are oriented towards discussions around sexual politics. I find that it is the attitudes of people around me that act as the trigger for the catalyst for the images in my photographs. 

EC: What motivates you to produce this type of work?

SS: I am very influenced by and very interested in advertising and the billboard image. I’m interested in the ways in which advertising attracts its audiences and the ways in which the messages of advertising are often unstated, but nevertheless implied. I am also influenced by what happens within the Asian community when ‘traditional values’ are merged with ‘Western influences’. The attitudes of Asian males towards sexuality, domesticity and gender difference also interest and influence me. On another level, much of my work is generated or assisted by the availability of ‘Photoshop’.

The above extracts are from an in conversation piece between Eddie Chambers and Surjit Simplay, “Eye to Eye”, Artists Newsletter, March 1997: 10