Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Images from India’s rusty rural albeit enchanting landscape

What is perhaps closest to us is ironically toughest to see and even tougher to show. Photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri snapped enchanting images of his ancestral village for more than a decade, visiting the annual Durga Pujo festival. Mumbai-based Project 88 presented his solo exhibition, entitled ‘A Village in Bengal’ that threaded a subtle narrative, inviting the viewer to be part of the rustic story of rural India as unspooled in a remote village in Bengal.

These exhilarating photographs, animated by the rhythms of rural life, gave the feeling of being in the countryside, the joyful gathering of family, the rush of festivities, the small inconveniences, and the inherent contrast therein with urban sufficiency and insularity. A press release mentioned: “We see a portrait deeply intimate in nature through picture after picture of incredible poise and poignancy. The photos look as if arranged in a private family album but stun as only a photographer working at the peak of his intellectual power and finesse might.”

In an accompanying essay, the photo-artist describes the difficult and slippery process of evolving a visual language that satisfies him, one that incorporates the dazzling effect of memory but is rid of nostalgia and eschews prettiness, which denies the camera its urge to show itself. The two complementary essays – photographic and prose – guide us elegantly through the complicated process by which we see, store and air again the unutterably fragile experience of ‘home’.

Chirodeep Chaudhuri’s photos have appeared in several major anthologies such as ‘Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai’; ‘Bombay: The Cities Within’; and ‘Fort Walks: Around Bombay’s Fort
Area’. He is the editor of photography of ‘Mumbai Now’, the contemporary section of the 'Bombay Then, Mumbai Now' (2009). His work has been exhibited in India and internationally and forms part of the prestigious collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Texas; Peabody Essex Museum,  Massachusetts; Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Japan; among others d various private collections in

He also teaches photo journalism at Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai, and is currently working on a book on the fast-disappearing realm of the manual typewriter.

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