When his school and college batchmates were poring over textbooks, Pablo Bartholomew was zooming in on the India of the 1970s and 1980s, capturing his surroundings on film.
The artistic journey led him to several cities around the world and won him numerous accolades.
But the plethora of photographs he took during his formative years were buried in his closet â€” until last year, when they were displayed at the Arles Festival in France. The same black-and-white prints, of photographs taken in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, will now be on display here in an exhibition entitled â€˜Outside In! A Tale of Three Citiesâ€™ at the National Museum. The exhibition will be inaugurated on January 27.
â€œMany of them were taken in my teenage years, which was a time of growing up,â€ says Bartholomew, now 52.
â€œThey film the changes within me and the changes around me. These cities too were at turning points in their lives, where the old world still survived amid shifting, emerging new worlds,â€ he says.
One of the photographs from Delhi is of youngsters in bell-bottoms, grooving to music being belted out by students of St Stephenâ€™s College. In contrast, there are pictures from Kolkata of a family Bartholomew lived with when he went there. Among those representing Mumbai is that of a boatman by the sea, along with a horse, and with skyscrapers in the background.
â€œSuch things happen even today,â€ he says. â€œOne can still find groups of youngsters dancing and enjoying themselves.â€
He says he chose not to display these pictures all this while because he wasnâ€™t sure if they would be understood, and hopes things have changed for the better now.
â€œThere is a gradual change in perspective and photography is gaining recognition as an art form. The practice of limited editions has also come in,â€ he says.
So, as he awaits the reaction to this selection, he is also planning an exhibition on Mumbai and another people-oriented show â€” of pictures of luminaries taken by him during their younger days. He also has two book projects under way, one on the Indian Ã©migrÃ©, and the other on the Nagas.
[a former member]
2008-01-25 15:43:11 UTC