Archive for category Photo-Essays

Winter’s Visage

The universe keeps conspiring all the time to keep you from literature and art, making you do trivial and mundane activities. This thought has riddled me for the better half of the past few days. Having to run around amidst civilization’s wilderness, facing the immovable slothfulness of govt officials (who themselves are quite content with an artless, essentially meaningless and definitely unproductive life), and in doing so, not getting to shoot with the new camera.

So I thought I’d visit the local “Sabji Mandi”, i.e. the vegetable market, and get lost in the parallel world picking up a camera instantly transports you to. Getting into one of these markets here is like being dropped in the middle of a vortex of entropy. From stagnant mundanity to chaos. From relativistic space-time to quantum froth. It’s hard to focus on a subject here, while you are surrounded by so many other moments and muses. Amidst these criss-crossing lines of thought and lines of sight, you stand with a camera glued to your eyes, frantically trying to bring back those fleeting moments that invariably escape your attempts. Animals, people and colours all in a convoluted canvas that refreshes many times over every second. It is rather additive. You smile at every capture. You smile at every miss. There are so many things only you shall know. And so few you shall bring back. And then there is more. Addictions and cravings in their inseparable entanglement grip you, mellowing every nagging thought that sagged your smiles, or sagged your hopes alike, in the last few days.

I had also wanted to try out a variant style of portraits that I had often seen. Translating the intensity, expressions and emotions into a monochromatic visual poem, where one can not help but feel as is they are interacting with the moment itself. My photographs here, are of course a euphemism of what could be. But I tried to put in my best of efforts.

I would like to form a premise here. One must know that these were shot on a typical winter morning in Kanpur, where the temperature is often as merciless as the definite march of time. Shivering, and making a living at the same time, these people were generally amicable, and always willing to be photographed. I did not mention that I’m not a journalist (as many were thinking out aloud) . Perhaps that let them be a little more willing, when they were aware they were being photographed. The season often reflects in countenances. I could see Winter’s visage all around me.

Here are five portraits. A little unconventional, this photo essay has been my escape from the tenacious clutches of compulsions and obligations. My indulgence, if I may…

Eye for an eye

 (Regardless of the season, Turbans are very essentially Indian. One of the things that make up our ethos. It’s hard not to come across countless colours and styles, wherever you go around in India.)

Earthen Lineaments

(There are very few activities as enjoyable in winters as intermittent naps. While working, more so.)

Consumed in the folds

(All around there are people, walking, working, lazing or even sleeping, wrapped in Shawls and Mufflers. The way the greater half of India tackles winters. And if your Shawl happens to be a “Pashmina”, you could flaunt off some elegant Kashmiri handicraft.) 

What meets the eye

(Eyes take charge in expressing emotions words cannot. A mere glance can convey multitudes. But equally expressive is the reverie of a dropped eyelid.)

Winter's Visage

(Well this one was not a spontaneous shot. And he asked me if I would take a photograph of him too. I was happy to oblige. And also to buy some fresh vegetables off his cart.)

Am desperate to go out for more of these, and am trying to stitch patchworks of creativity onto the face of a clock that’s ticking over things I really don’t enjoy. So far, so good. Will get my hands on a different fabric for the next overlay.

I do hope you felt the emotions I tried to convey.

Until then.

– Siddhartha


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