By Suman Nath
12 Aug 2017
What happens when you leave the place you fell in love with? What happens when you are forced to migrate or displaced and find your restless soul haunting you again and again? What happens when you are disrupted, uprooted and forced to live in a place you find little affinity with?
Yes, this warrants a range of mental disruptions and sometimes we do survive them gracefully. What if that happens through photography? Yes, let’s toss it “Surviving displacement through photography”
Usually, in a developing country like India, there is a tendency to migrate towards the cities. People love to be posted in cities, the bigger the better! However, there are others who do not. Suman belonged to the second category.
Suman enjoyed the proximity of the river, forest, and villagers since 2010 when he was appointed as a college teacher at one of the port centered villages on West Bengal. It is a river port and awarded as the greenest part of the world and hence, Suman enjoyed the river, forest like ambiance and rural inclined quality of life. Because of his academic thirst, he has spent a lot of time in doing fieldwork at remote corners! You know he has developed a rural soul, rapidly!
But six years of lovemaking with the rural corners, forest, and the river came to a sudden end as he was asked to serve one of the newest colleges at a newly build heterotopic depthless SEZ centered city.
Needless to mention, it was disruption – a major disruption to a rural soul that now has to adjust to a heterotopic space.
Suman originally belongs to Kolkata, the city which carries many of his memories – his college and university life but this new place – Rajarhat -Newtown is no different from other such cities like Noida and do not carry anything of Kolkata. However, Kaleidoscope started finding newer things:
Imitations (Concrete imitation)
Pleasure of corners (Proletarian pleasure)
Perhaps there are many more themes like surveillance selves, images, costly and cozy shopping-mall corners came and dominated Suman’s increasingly complex world of the living and dying. The question, however, remains does he survive the disruption?
Maybe does! Now let’s have some technicalities:
how to find survival themes?
First of all, these are survival themes because it keeps the head busy, it keeps you going with the context in which you are bound to live. You cannot just keep seeking for the forest in Boulevard, rivers in bitumens and stories in chopped down tree branches.
City in itself is doing so many things, it’s like a microchip which includes everything within a small periphery. Hence you might be bewildered with the diversities.
1. look for moments – a person or an activity in a context, otherwise architectures are all same.
2. Play with light and shed – don’t mind midsummer sun in a city – it gives you best contrast
3. Seek themes – Don’t look for aesthetic appeal only, look for abstract ideas: be itself – other – society – material – politics – capitalism – poverty – gender and so on.
4. sky and colors – sometimes cities play with the sky, sun and stars – switch your rural nature loving mode on seeking an under the sea experience under a clouded sky!
you never know what awaits at the corner! Cities can surprise you, can make you face your self – cry-laugh-live – all of a sudden. Suman faced them numerous times. Of late his discovery of a graffiti to one of the old city walls pushes him – it tells him straight – we do live for love – “LABOUR OF LOVE” – Suman knows Love survives at the time of civilization, yes, it does!
So does he survive his displacement, so does he hug every soul that is departed and uprooted from their significant others, rivers, birds, trees or even cities! Let’s take refuge in camera – Yes, camera teaches you to live and love!
Disclaimer: All the photos are taken in a mobile camera Samsung grand prime.