My project required intimacy. It is more of a personal conversation with the subject (here the women) in the photographs. Along with the basic knowledge on photography, point of views from the other end of the spectrum (that is of photographers) was necessary as well.
When I started to work on my project, building a community of photographers and photographed seemed a distant reality . However constant workshops, sessions of brain storming, reading theoretical texts on photography and history gradually helped shaping issues to focus on.
I have some photos collected from different sources but those were not from Chitpur. While going to that area and reaching out the local studios became a regular routine, collecting photographs and talking to women of that area on issues related to photographs of prospective brides became a major barrier. Finally a breakthrough came when I entered Paul Bari.
These public and personal interactions helped constructing issues to harp on during festival. Meanwhile I decided to use peepshow box as a medium to convey the crux of my search. Many people asked me why this particular medium. Here are the reasons
- Peep shows are now obsolete and it can tickle adrenalin of ever nostalgic Kolkattaiyas
- it has a voyeuristic element in it.
- It somewhat blurs the idea of private and public viewing
Chitpur with its hustles and bustles, filth, narrow golis and sound had returned to its original form after two days of festival but it's effect could be seen in 'Stereoscopic narratives' when an assistant commissioner of police who was a part of the project constructively criticised the endeavour and conversed about bisarjan with local resident from Chitpur. I could see how my apprehensions and thoughts about imaginative community of photographers and photographed was transformed into a larger context. I could sense the community feeling when I saw Hamdasti as a catalyst created a platform where Sunit Chatterji from C. Bros deeply engaged in exchanging business ideas with Amarnath Dawn form Dawn Bari at Beniatola Lane. It gave a me sense of assurance that Hamdasti would be successful in organising many other editions of Chitpur Local and thus building a bridge between local pockets and the larger city through art.