7 September, 2015

Still Life

22 April, 2017


Photos: Mark Bennington

Text:Guardian 20

These images are from the book Living the Dream: The Life of the ‘Bollywood’ Actor, by Mark Bennington, published by Harper Collins India. Bennington is a New York-based photographer and has attempted to bring the ordinary facets of Bollywood actors to the fore through his images. This book contains 112 photographs and interviews ranging frombeginners to the biggest stars in the country, and everyone in between. This is the story of many, which only few know.

According to the photographer, “My interest in the acting community of Mumbai started not as a life-long fascination, but more as a genuine curiosity about what life looked like here for actors compared to what I had known as an actor in Los Angeles and New York. I think what set my images apart from others’ is that they capture the complexity and harmony of real life. My position as a compassionate ‘outsider’ with ‘insider’ access has given me a rare point of view to tell a story that bypasses hierarchy. Everyone’s story — from student to megastar — flows as one throughout the book, and it is this sense of unity that kept the project going.”

15 April, 2017

Black Mirror

Photos: Roger Ballen


These photos are from the exhibition The Theatre of Apparitions, by influential photographic artist Roger Ballen. Ballen was born in New York in 1950 and has been based in Johannesburg, South Africa since the early 1980s.

The Theatre of Apparitions, comprising his work from the past decade, is a short psychological thriller that explores the dark space between sanity and insanity, dream and reality. Separated into seven chapters or “acts”, this show is a treat of Ballenesque images, taking viewers on a deep journey into their subconscious. Inspired by the sight of hand-drawn carvings on blacked-out windows in an abandoned women’s prison, Ballen started to experiment using different spray paints on glass and then “drawing on” or removing the paint with a sharp object to let natural light through. The results are like prehistoric cave-paintings: the black, dimensionless spaces on the glass are canvases onto which Ballen carves his thoughts and emotions. Fossil-like facial forms and dismembered body parts coexist uncomfortably with vaporous, ghost-like shadows. Earthly and otherworldly, physical and spiritual, his work transcends all traditional concepts of photography.

The show is on view till 6 May at Delhi’s Photoink Gallery

8 April, 2017

Coal Country

Photos: Ronny Sen

Text: Guardian 20

These images are from End of Time, a recently launched photo book by Ronny Sen. It is published by Nazar Photography Monographs. The photographs are from Jharia, a town in the state of Jharkhand, which has been in the news for a coal field fire that has burned on for more than 100 years now. People living in the area, apart from
being in danger of subsidence due to the ongoing fire, also encounter problems such as breathing disorders and skin diseases.

According to Sen, “I was working as a fixer for two French filmmakers in 2013 at the location and I started working on this project after that.  Whatever I saw everyday at Jharia I used to photograph. It is about the space that these people of Jharia inhabit.  More than journalism, my project is about the exploration of that space which one can term as apocalyptic. There are 87 images in the book.” Sen created End of Time, which is edited by Sanjeev Saith , in 2013-2014.

In the year 2016, Sen also won the Getty Images Instagram Grant for his work in the Jharia coal mines. The images were a part of the exhibition Abandon, organised by the Gujral Foundation in 2015. His photos further travelled to Arena at the Belvedere Museum, Netherlands (2016), and Photoville in New York (2016).


1 April, 2017

Age Of Unrest

Photos: Various Photographers

Text: Ila Singh

These images are from the show World Press Photo exhibition 2016. This travelling exhibition, unique in its kind, is the result of the World Press Photo Foundation’s worldwide annual contest on photojournalism and documentary photography. It has been brought to New Delhi with the financial support of The Embassy of The Netherlands, in cooperation with India International Centre and Adaan Foundation.

The World Press Photo of the Year honours the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance. The annual photo contest awards photographers for the best images contributing to the past year of visual journalism.

It is the world’s leading contest for professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers, setting the standard in the industry. For 2016 photo contest, 5,775 photographers from 128 countries submitted 82,951 images. The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 42 photographers from 21 countries.

Richardson’s picture has been awarded as the World Press Photo of the Year 2015. It shows refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Horgoš (Serbia) and Röszke (Hungary). Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed.

The exhibition is on till 3 April at Art Gallery, Kamaladevi Complex, India International Centre, New Delhi

25 March, 2017

Mythos of city life

Photos: Sujith S.N. 

Text: Vadehra Art Gallery

These images are from an ongoing show, ARCHIPELAGO, featuring paintings by the Mumbai-based artist Sujith S.N. The works presented here can be interpreted as conversations with the city and its everyday realities, which Sujith has been engaged in for a few years now, but here he sets about articulating them in a more nuanced and abstract manner. The city is no longer the subject but is a matrix upon which his abstract ruminations are constructed.

Architectural forms give way to vast empty spaces, or alternatively dreamscapes, where the individual is seen lost in the act of doing nothing. Like the city made of numerous individual citizens, the archipelago emerges as a metaphor for society, as an entity in itself while simultaneously being as a collection of bodies. This exhibition is a reflection on the role of the photographic archive in a contemporary world of images and the importance to history and our common future of bringing female narratives to the forefront of social storytelling.

The exhibition is on view till 1 April at Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery

18 March, 2017

The Female Gaze

Photos: Various artists

Text: FOCUS Photography Festival 

These images are from the exhibition titled, Photographing the Female which is a part of FOCUS Photography Festival Mumbai 2017. It is a transnational project and exhibition that explores female identity and representation in photography.

The exhibition brings together the work of 25 empowering voices from around the world whose photographic practices all explore a contemporary female experience via historically central themes like the body, sense of self, conformity and stigmatisation. The photographers speak to us from a myriad of vantage points uncovering social and personal realities that challenge perceptions of what it means to be female and forces the viewer to consider the consequences of society’s prescribed roles. Despite radical differences in style and approach an inescapable universality permeates the exhibition reminding us that the female is intrinsically connected to all of us and our very existence.

This exhibition is a reflection on the role of the photographic archive in a contemporary world of images and the importance to history and our common future of bringing female narratives to the forefront of social storytelling.

The exhibition is on view till 23 March at Mumbai

11 March, 2017

Magnum Opus, Redux

Photos: Rohit Chawla

Text: Tasveer Arts

The Inspired Frame, an exhibition of photographs by Rohit Chawla, pays tribute to three renowned and seminal artists: Raja Ravi Varma, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, alongside select works inspired by miniature paintings will be seen for the first time in public. The photographer has reconstructed tableaus and compositions as featured in famous works of art, using contemporary models to recreate life-like experiences of the originals. The exhibition is supported by Tasveer Arts.

According to Chawla, “These are artists whose works I liked and was inspired by. I have grown up on Raja Ravi Verma. It was a joy to photograph some of my favourite people as subjects in the project where I have turned paintings into photography idiom. I have employed my own sensibilities on Frida Kahlo and miniatures. I have worked with various fashion designers in this project. Where Sabyasachi has designed clothes for Frida’s series, Tarun Tahiliani made garments for models in Raja Ravi Varma’s series.”

The exhibition is on view till 18 March at Bikaner House, New Delhi


5 March, 2017

Project Photo Fusion

Photos: Waswo X. Waswo

Text: TARQ Gallery

These images are by the Udaipur-based American photographer Waswo X. Waswo, and are part of the show Photowallah, which opens on 10 March at TARQ Gallery, Mumbai, organised in collaboration with Tasveer Arts.  The photographs form an essay in syncretistic processes and alternative artistic practice. Though Waswo remains the key photographer and director of these images, he consistently calls attention to the multiple agencies and complex collaborative processes that enabled their production. The backdrops have been painted by Zenule Khan, Chiman Dangi, Anil Atrish and Dalpat Singh Jingar, and he notes that they all work with teams of their own assistants. His own assistants often help with bringing the models, and they in turn, participate in their own imaging.  After the photographs have been taken and printed, they are tinted by hand-colourist Rajesh Soni. These photographs are selected from his previous series’ A Studio in Rajasthan, Gauri Dancers and New Myths.

Playfully examining the genres of both the ethnographic photograph-as-document that is linked to the colonial era, as well as the fantasy-inspired make-believe that emanated from traditional Indian portrait studios in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Waswo creates a unique brand of contemporary photography that is an inspired mix of homage and critique. Ranging from shots of single figures to theatrically arranged tableaux, these photographs feature everyone from Gauri dancers to flower sellers, the incarnations of mythological figures, farmers and school children. In the tradition of pictorialism, Waswo’s carefully crafted images with their pastoral backdrops and hand-tinted processing resonate with a romantic sensibility, while yet remaining humorously self-aware and self-reflexive.

The exhibition is on from 10 March to 8 April

25 February, 2017

A Shift In Perspective

Photos & text: Vadehra Art Gallery 

These untitled oil paintings, by acclaimed artist Ram Kumar, are from a recently concluded show at Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi. Created from the year 2011 to 2016, the artworks display the recent works of the genius.

With one of the most significant art practices in the country, Ram Kumar’s works spanning six decades has made a tremendous contribution to Indian art. Born in Shimla in 1924, the artist studied Economics from St Stephens College in Delhi University before turning to art. 

Ram left his job in banking to pursue his art practice in 1948 and went on to study painting in Paris under Andre Lhote and Fernard Leger in 1949. Ram Kumar was deeply inspired from the social realistic works of artists such as Pignon, Kathe Kollowitz and Andre Fourgeron in the early years of his career. His works have over the years progressed from his early figurative drawings to the depictions of his travels around the mountains and later Varanasi to the abstracted landscapes he has done since.

Like Richard Bartholomew noted about Ram, ‘’Though Ram‘s world picture has not changed since the 1950s his imagery has undergone a process of synthesis, refinement and rarefiction. This has been a process of sublimination. There has been a subtractive process at work, as it were.”


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