Is it possible for photography to disrupt the image of a city’s relentless march, to offer a chance to reflect without despair, other imaginaries that are equally lived and felt as part of the everyday?
Some years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Tokyo on an assignment. I work as a photojournalist. In my free time, I wandered around the city taking photographs, a little lost, a little aimless, unsure of what I was looking for. If I was looking for anything at all. I didn’t have enough time to know Tokyo in even a superficial way, never mind hoping to take pictures that would capture such a sprawling city in its entirety.
Instead, I found myself drawn, unconsciously, to people who seemed, like me, to be in some sort of liminal state, in-between people who had found a moment, in an otherwise busy day, for stillness that disrupted the norm of the purposive city-dweller. A salaryman slumped over a beer in the middle of the day, for instance. He hadn’t got to where he needed to be, he wasn’t yet subsumed in a blur of activities. He had what in megalopolises like Tokyo, and Delhi, is arguably the most precious commodity — time, blank, gloriously empty time.
Unlike Tokyo, Delhi is a city I know intimately. And while the two are vastly different, I found there a shared sense of time, or rather a state of being in spite of time. In the down at heel market in Shapur Jat what drew me was a similar sense of inalienable comfort in otherwise alienated city lives, an undeniable in-betweenness.
Afternoon drinkers, day-dreamers, wandering photographers—bound to the city at our own pace. These images cause me to wonder about an alternative imaginary of urbanity; could they encapsulate a moment, which lingers just long enough to cause one to pause and reflect?
Opening – 23rd September, 2013 at 6.30 pm.
The exhibition will remain open from 24 September – 26 October 2013.
The Japan Foundation
5A, Ring Road, Lajpat Nagar 4