Photos: Pablo Bartholomew

Text: Nature Morte

The photographs represented here are from the series Memento Mori by photographer Pablo Bartholomew. In 1986, Pablo was commissioned by National Geographic to photograph the monumental effort of 15,000 Bangladeshi men who had to physically close the mouth of the Feni River to control flooding and create a freshwater reservoir for irrigation over a seven-hour intertidal marathon, thus building the largest dam in the country. The cardboard box where he kept the Kodachrome slides from the assignment was feasted by termites thus affecting the slides. In the process, there emerged entirely new works of art. Memento Mori is Bartholomew’s attempt at resurrecting the corpses of his images, albeit fully conscious of their irreversible state of mutation. In enlarging and presenting these ruins, he restores the intimacy and immediacy of their contents while exposing the futility of the human attempt at preservation.

“Memento Mori” continues till 24 September at Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi

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