Wednesday, February 1, 2012


photographs date from as early as 1973 to present.
majority of images are digitalized from film.
sizes vary to meet particular needs.
image order is non-chronological for formal relation.
though i do also color photography
(that can be viewed @ my places elsewhere),
this blog is exclusively for my black & white work.


The city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India was a hotbed of communal & religious riots for a long time until the deadliest & the last riots in entire Gujarat state & more so in Ahmedabad in 2002 that has “created a state of no riots” since for whatever reason. I have lived & taught in an art college in that city and witnessed multiple riots annually while there. I risked my own safety in documenting some of these riots. At times, I barely escaped beating by both police and rioting mobs. Here is a selection from the images I have captured.  Most images are of hot spots of the riots in the city where some in-between lull after a pause in heavy violence. It is also before the next round of clash could/would erupt at any given moment. The emptied streets littered with weaponry of thrown rocks/bricks/tiles etc. telling an eerie tale that just happened. Still apprehensive, both policemen & city residents are taking a break in order to inhale a breath of some temporary relief. And some people are trying to watch the show from a safe height, distance or hideout.

While the rest of the city is going through hell, someone or something, keeps going about one’s  own daily routine uninterrupted & indifferently: a beggar sits on pavement trying to “earn” her daily bread, a fisherman in the River Sabarmati that runs through the city meditatively concentrates on his catch, a dog or a cow takes its usual and leisurely stroll… Life goes on within wars! 


These photographs document a museum audience and its reactions, either out of real involvement or pretense, to art works.  Museum going is symbolic of learnedness and cultivated taste.  So people make museum going a rarely missed part of their social or travel activity.  However, people visit museums and galleries regardless of their interest or non-interest in art.  They do this for various reasons – to please or impress, to show off good taste, to go along and, of course, also for genuine interest.  Many uninterested visitors to a museum of traditional art could pass their pretense for real interest, but  in a museum of modern and contemporary art, they can’t conceal their bewilderment even when they try since their body language reveal it all. I have secretly listened to museum goers making some of the most ridiculous comments on art works. 

I wanted to express in my work this long observed phenomenon that has dominated my mind for a considerable period of time. I paint as well as I do photography, but I could have not painted this as effectively as capturing the fleeting moments of this of human behavior with a lens. In order not to plainly document and mirror this, I have attempted to create a specific imagery with help of black and white slow film in an indoor environment for deliberate reasons.  The slow film exposes blurred while the spectators are moving while looking at art. This helps symbolize truth about whether one is into art or not adding to subjective confusion.  Black and white film and lack of colors helped simplify and focus on the main point.  I chose film over digital image for the reason that I could leave unedited the dust marks and scratches a film gets in the process to emphasize the blemished subject element that some “see” art as not exactly what it is.  I wanted Museum of Modern Art and its collection as an effective venue for these phenomena, but not so much of physical interior of the museum as I do not consider its architecture as symbolic of the institution’s specialty as much as its art collection . So I chose the most recognizable art works that the museum houses that can stand for the museum’s essence without having to document the building. 


A dog. An animal with pious vision in Indian belief. A man’s best friend in the West.  To me, a symbolic presence of my own self. So, this is not a documentary in the usual sense like the two groups of photographs with subjects of “Calm Thunders” & “MoMA Moments” above. Of course, I have shot images of dogs, hence, it is technically a documentary on dogs’ behavior.  But via that, I am indirectly expressing my personal baggage of emotional nature. I see myself in a dog’s character. My moods, emotions, desires, impatience & jittery restlessness resemble the ones digs have and I have attempted to express this via actions of this amazing creature.  Not much needs to be told.  So they are here to be viewed in a different light, notwithstanding my purpose behind this series.

OK, now some individual images in

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