1 galleriesLast winter, I spent three weeks in Poland in an old town called Gdańsk at the mouth of the Motława River. While there, I often thought of how it shared with my home city and state the many burdens of a communist past. This serendipitous connection became the locus of my attempts to connect to a place I was otherwise a stranger to. I was deeply inspired by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski’s seminal work ‘ Three Colors Trilogy’. Taking a cue from his film, I wanted to react to everything that was going on around me, through individual shades. I had my own baggage because I came from Calcutta where the communists had ruled for the past three decades. I failed terribly, the colours in my memory were different from what I was encountering here. Soon disillusioned, I wasn't sure what I was looking for anymore. I sought out every glimpse of the accidental flare of hues, looking in and out, unnoticed and unseen. Capturing colours, seeking them out and arranging them in order would reveal meaning, I had thought. But what I ended up photographing were mundane things, seemingly regular, even banal, which only furthered the obscurity I had meant to resolve in the very beginning. In the strange and melancholic Polish winter, I grappled anew with the fading of the left and of red --the colour which had been its most enduring symbol in the past. Desolate, I looked thus for its chance traces and eventually moved to other things, left behind unnoticed in crevices, there in the streets where Solidarity had once emerged.
2 galleries“The cities tie you with a love, which dips into secrets. Falling coins stand mute. Their sound, as if unheard, mingles with trade cries. The moaning dissolves into a jigsaw of falling coins. The camera hears all that and tries to visualize this acute listening effect.” In 2012, in the month of November I went to Cambodia and I started exploring the beautiful city of Siem Reap at night on a bicycle I hired for two dollars a day. I had no preconceived forms or narratives in my mind . But I was desperate to photograph and I kept taking pictures of things, animals and people I found on the streets – the prostitutes waiting in street corners, the dogs, the buildings, the amorphous nocturnal figures. I photographed faces, animals and bodies, trying to capture the moments when a lot seemed to happen but also when things reached the silence of stasis in the middle of nowhere. The solitude and mania that pervades the night made a great impression on me and I was drawn to people living on the edge but yet somehow surviving and escaping the predictable ends: jails, institutionalization or death. The darkness of the city fascinated me, and resonated with my own sense of disillusionment at the time. Instead of being a sequential narrative of facts, Khmer Din is a visual representation of disconnected memories where I wanted to achieve a flow without narrative; this is not an objective story of a place as much as a silent exploration of the darkness of Siem Reap: its streets, bars, night shelter hotels and the amorphous night figures.