Narrow alleys with slippery roads, flanked by rooms so tiny they don’t allow a family of five to stretch their legs. This was photographer Vipul Prasad’s first impression of Mumbai’s manual laundromat: Dhobi Ghat. But when he observed the hordes of people engrossed in washing, drying, ironing and colouring heaps of multihued clothes, he knew he had to document the area.
“Despite having grown up in Mumbai, I never experienced the old-world charm hidden behind the facade of the ever-evolving city. I remember thinking that I should do a photo series on the culture that exists inside old areas of Mumbai,” says Vipul, a food and travel photographer. Subsequently, in October, he released Inside, a photo series that will focus on specific areas in Mumbai with a rich cultural history behind them. The first instalment of the series is titled Dhobi Ghat and comprises 20 photos of the locality, all shot within the span of an hour.
Vipul (27), an ex-Emirates customer service and sales agent, is a self-taught photographer. He discovered his penchant for photography after a trip to the Himalayas in 2012. “I returned from that trip with some extraordinary photographs. That is when I believed I could professionally take up photography,” he says. Vipul left his job in 2013 and has been a freelance photographer since then.
Vipul is fascinated by the coexistence of “old Bombay and the new, developed Mumbai”, and intends to showcase the intermingling of the past and present version of the city. “The architecture, simplicity of lives and trades is where one finds the charm of Mumbai,” he observes.
After Dhobi Ghat, Vipul is exploring the fishermen community that frequent the Sassoon Docks. “It is nearly impossible to shoot amidst the swarm of buyers and vendors there. Local fisherwomen are constantly pushing you around, as they carry baskets full of fresh produce on their heads. I will make a few more trips before releasing the new set of photos. Another place I have my eye set on is Crawford Market,” he says.
For Vipul, Inside started out as a personal journey to get to know the city he grew up in. And he hopes the sentiment reaches his audience. “Most of the reactions to Dhobi Ghat were ‘Oh! Is that how it looks from the inside?’ I’d like to think the series will inspire people to visit the places I have captured,” he says.
Visit behance.net/VIPULPRASAD to track the entire Inside series.