Things Not Seen

Tasveer is an online photography magazine, a set of galleries with exhibitions, in Bangalore as well as Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, and a publisher of exhibition catalogues.  It is also a look into many things I will never see, all shrunken on an iPad screen for browsing on a lazy afternoon, as I smell the neighbors’ lunches cooking and listen to the birds outside.

Tasveer introduced me to the work of Vivek Muthuramalingam, a Bangalorean photographer, whose Vanishing Sea series shows the silted-up port of a coastal city, quite reminiscent of the Aral Sea.  He also did a series on migrants from Tamil Nadu, working in the Quarries of Rampura (oh, I have so many work-related questions).  As he writes about the series:

In the rocky outskirts of Bangalore, close to a village called Rampura, I stood witness to an occupation that looks both primitive and merciless. A group of labourers from Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu toil hard for long hours under the fierce afternoon sun, breaking rocks with a chisel and hammer and with bare naked hands to eke out a living…. Manoharan, a worker at the quarry, shows me with a tinge of authority the dynamite sticks that they use for the late evening blasts to break the bigger rocks. He also shows me around what was once his home- ‘Although people are evacuated before the blasts begin unexpected shrapnel sometimes crash into our huts rendering them irreparable. We just have to build another’.

Vivek Muthuramalingam, Women toil hard at the quarry

(More photographs below the fold; patience, please, if it’s slow to load.)

Andreas Volwahsen: Living Architecture: a German modernist photographer, whose astounding work I did see at the exhibit in Bangalore and whose photographs are inspiring our travels.

Andreas Volwahsen, View Over the Roof of Gulbarga Mosque

Madan Mahatta: Delhi Modern Architecture: photographs from the 1960s, looking for the architecture of the still new nation. Another image reminds me of the homes of the Supreme Court justices in Delhi, several of which I’ve seen, only from the outside. There is a street where a number of them are clumped together, with nameplates on gates identifying the residents within (imagine that in the U.S.!).

Madan Mahatta, Delhi Municipal Council building

Selvaprakash Lakshmanan: Life in Troubled Waters: images of fishermen in Tamil Nadu, in a village where the sea is encroaching on mangrove forests, erasing what was once land.  The photographs are eerily similar to those of the Louisiana gulf.

Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, #2 in the series

Sebastian Cortez: Sidhpur: Time in the Past: an exhibition on the Bohras, a Muslim trading community in coastal Gujarat, with a distinctive style of complex, colonnaded architecture.

Sebastian Cortez, Street of Islampura

Other Tasveer series include:

  • Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s An Indian from India, pairing colonialist photos of First Nations people in the U.S. with self-portraits of women, primarily, in India;
  • Pooja Jain’s Renunciation, on Jain nuns;
  • Anna Fox’s Pulikali Tigers, on men who decorate themselves with paint in designs of tigers;
  • Akshay Bhoan’s Vrindavan: Grey Notebooks, on Hindu widows; and
  • Tomasz Gudzowaty’s Flying Warriors, images of Kalaripayattu, an ancient martial art from Kerala.

All that and more are recommended.




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