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Mumbai memories

Images from the city that gave a lot to the lensman

art and culture Updated: Jun 07, 2012 14:47 IST
Pablo Bartholomew

Intrinsic to my growing up, Bombay offered me and thousands of others like me who arrived before and those who followed as economic refugees, the opportunity to be cradled and mentored professionally. It gave friendship, food and shelter and the chance to be discovered, the chance to become someone. Having escaped bureaucratic Delhi, leaving behind my troubled teenage life, I found acceptance in this city not for whose son I was but for my skills and talents and of what use they could be to others. This propelled me to try to find myself both economically and in my work. I look back with warmth and gratitude at what the city offered me. It was with a grudging reluctance I left the city in the mid 1980s; the death of my father and trouble brewing in the north of the country beckoned me as I entered the world of journalism. Unfortunately, this marked the end of the documentary phase of my work as I started to work as a journalist and had to turn to colour, abandoning the world of black and white.

This exhibition, The Chronicles is connected to Outside In: A Tale of 3 Cities, my body of work, which consists of my inner world of friends and family. It roughly spans the same years, the 1970s and 1980s, but is more a manifestation of my outer world; my associations with the city and its people, known and unknown.

This exhibition is a way of paying my dues to this city and its people. Often I’d wandered aimlessly through the streets hoping to discover its many parts, bit by bit, day by day, month by month, always amazed by the infinite visual joy in each discovery of this place that came to be called home.

— The author is a documentary photographer based in Delhi. He is best known for images from the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 and more recently, of the Sri Lankan unrest. These images are a part a show called ‘Chronicles of a past life — Bombay’, on at Photoink, till February 25.

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