Photo Exhibition: Capturing the Ephemeral Idea of ​​Home in Camera

In an ongoing show, three photographers reflect on the multiple meanings of ‘home’ and the catalog of memories, ideas and images associated with it.

What does home mean to you? Is it a tangible thing denoted by a physical structure, a geographical location and a collection of objects, or is it about feelings and relationships?

An ongoing exhibition curated by photographer Bharat Sikka in New Delhi has attempted to make sense of this elusive idea of ​​home. Titled “Nowhere Is Home,” this near-abstract exhibition, on view at GallerySKE and PHOTOINK until November 30, features the work of three young artists. They brought their ideas, images and experiences to build a catalog of memories (or loss of them), nostalgia and the complicated and ever-changing nature of this landmark.

Propaganda in family photos

Yashna Kaul first discovered her family’s old scrapbooks while preparing a memory book for her mother’s 50th birthday. Later, when he went to college in New York, a professor introduced him to the idea of ​​doing projects about photography instead of doing photo projects. That led her to look to those old photo albums from the 1980s and 1990s for inspiration.

“I started [the project] initially looking at photography’s relationship to memory because my father had Alzheimer’s,” says Kaul. She chose photos her father clicked in burst mode — where you click the shutter and take many photos in sequence – and built collages and animations from them, to be displayed on a TV screen.

Also read: Lounge Loves: Warrior Nun, Daniel Craig dancing and more

She also noticed in her father’s photographs that he always wore some rings associated with Vedic gemology. No wonder, on the album sleeves, she focused on his hands, keeping his face out. “I wanted to focus on the hands, and this was a way for me to introduce my father in the exhibition as the person taking the photographs,” explains Kaul.

This absence of his face also alludes to the fact that her father was polygamous and that Kaul was part of his second family. These pictures, which capture idyllic “Kodak” moments, show no sign of that. “[But] when I’m working with the photos now or even looking at the project now, I think it has a lot more to do with the performance of the family photo, like how there is propaganda in the family photos,” says Kaul.

Home as a space for negotiations

For Devashish Gaur, discovering an archive of family photographs sparked his curiosity about the patriarchal power structures that exist inside and outside the home. The 26-year-old photographer from New Delhi draws from the memories of his grandfather, a freedom fighter and multidisciplinary professional. She never met him, but now she found a way to connect with his life through these photos. It also allowed him to think about his relationship with his father and his sense of self.

“There is a strong sense of belonging and self-identity within the work, and I feel that this is the idea of ​​home for me – an ever-changing, almost fluid space of negotiation, love, memories and an acceptable ugliness that is hard to leave behind “, says Gaur.

Also read: A guide to making music festivals more accessible

Devashish Gaur,

Devashish Gaur, “Untitled”, 2022, from the series “This Is The Closest We Will Get”. Photo: courtesy of PHOTOINK

One of the curious objects on display at the exhibition is a box full of family photos. It seems to gather the entire family history in one place. Another is a series of photographs documenting a man combing his hair. The sense of intimacy in these collages is almost disturbing, like looking into someone’s home through a wide open window. You don’t want to be, but you can’t really look away.

This is a challenge any artist would face while presenting such personal items. For Gaur, it all comes almost naturally: “It’s almost like invading private space is easier when it’s your family; you can get away with it.”

This display from his ongoing series, This is The Closest We Will Get, also allows him to testify to the male tendencies in his family. To impose oneself on the existing material (like superimposing one’s face on the patriarchs) is an intimate act. “It creates a map that allows me to think about and relate to where I come from, no matter how alienating it may be,” he says.

Also Read: Pushpak at 35: The Silence of the Clowns

A home search

Abhishek Khedekar grew up in Dapoli, a small seaside town dotted with hills in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district. He gained a new interest in his hometown while going through the archives of Dapoli-based commercial photographer Subhash Kolekar.

“When I was going through one of his portraits done in a small studio in the city, he told me about how he would keep everything natural and go for plain, simple backgrounds,” says Khedekar. Another thing Kolekar did was listen to his LP. during film development. A song would take about five minutes, the same time it would take to develop the film.

This inspired Khedekar and he started photographing his city, capturing the places he remembered with his medium format camera. “I put my camera on [and] loading film allows me to think and frame my shots. It takes some time, but it gives me brain space to get into that zone and get that feeling,” explains Khedekar.

Abhishek Khedekar, 'Untitled' from the serial 'Dapoli'.  Photo: courtesy of PHOTOINK

Abhishek Khedekar, ‘Untitled’ from the serial ‘Dapoli’. Photo: courtesy of PHOTOINK

This nostalgic imprint creates the image of a place in a state of flux and still lost in time, perhaps something to do with how he sees it. One of his most striking photographs is of tall trees rising up in a dilapidated building – an old British-era church in the city. “The trees hold him. If someone cuts down the trees, they will disappear completely,” he says.

Its landscapes and the framing of Kolekar’s work offer an amalgam of memories. It is an ongoing exploration. Khedekar was planning to shoot with Kolekar, but unfortunately the photographer passed away a few months ago. The inspiration, however, continues. “Dapoli will call me again. And whenever I go, I will keep taking pictures,” says Khedekar.

Also read: Plan your week ahead with these 4 events

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *