In August this year, Bangkok-based photographer Chompoo Baritone posted a photo series on Facebook that gradually went viral (over 19,000 shares and over 28,500 Facebook likes). The series depicts the reality behind the perfectly cropped Instagram images by showing the cropped version and the larger picture in the same frame. Last month, taking inspiration from that concept, Limitless, the creative digital media division of Plash Digital Media (PDM), Bengaluru, came up with Broken India, a photo series with a similar concept — to depict graver paradoxes existing in the country.
For instance, imagine a coloured frame that highlights a kid playing on the ground. However, beyond the lines of this picture is an extension of the same scenario in monochrome. The larger picture depicts the slums, presumably, the child’s home. This highlights the fact that the coloured photos we see on Instagram, are perhaps just cropped versions of a much larger and grimmer reality.
A series of similarly designed pictures identifies the coloured parts as the beautiful India and the monochrome parts as the broken India. Vikas Jha, CEO and founder of PDM, who conceptualised the series, says, “The idea is that the picture should show two different sides of the nation — one that is happy and satisfied the way things are, and the other, who is adamant on changing the existing social disparity.”
While some of the images are sourced from the Internet, the rest are photographed by their in-house photographers in Bengaluru. The images are selected and shot keeping in mind that contrasting scenarios should coexist in the same frame. “Our nation isn’t as perfect as it can seem in a photograph. The photo series is an effort to throw light on social inequality. We hope people will rally for change within the country,” Jha says. Despite their objective being rather idealistic and inspiring, their effort is currently limited only to spreading awareness.
Limitless also did a minimalist series that highlighted the recent slew of bans. The series received over 27,000 shares and over 19,800 Facebook likes. They also recently finished working on Idols of Reality, a series which gives a modern day interpretation of social issues like female infanticide and deforestation, and how the gods are reacting to this. “We believe that issues that affect a certain segment of society affect all of us in some way. We want to continue with these awareness generating photo series,” Jha says.
Since cropping is the least a photographer can do in the post production phase, popular fashion photographer Riddhibrata Burman says that it has a very severe impact on the image. “It’s as important as composing and framing the shot. Sometimes, we have already pre-visualised a crop while shooting and at times, we crop to get a better impact and a better story.” It’s more about the feeling of the picture rather than the technique, he adds.