A reference to Kashmir evokes two kinds of imagery —guns, stone pelting, wailing women and unrest.
The other is of idyllic landscapes.
I wanted to move beyond the clichés associated with the region,” says photographer Amit Mehra, who spent six years documenting the Valley.
For Mehra, this picture shot at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar captures the pulse of the region. “Pigeons represent peace, and in this image, we can only see their shadows, indicating the fleeting nature of peace in the Valley,” he says.
Mehra, who specialises in architectural, advertising and documentary photography, has also been lauded for his 2012 book, Kashmir, for the stark and deeply personal portrayal of the region.
For Mehra, this picture of a church buried in snow behind a barricade in Gulmarg is symbolic of the division between India and Kashmir. “There’s a sense of alienation among Kashmiris when you broach the subject of India,” says the photographer, who made 25 trips to the Valley between 2006 and 2011. In all of Mehra’s images, conflict is portrayed through metaphors. The sheets of snow and the vast, barren landscapes carry an underlying tone of tension and melancholia.
His latest exhibition, which opened yesterday, features 35 telling photographs from this book. He picks two that best represent his message.
Where: Sakshi Gallery, 6/19, 2nd Floor, Grants Building, Arthur Bunder Road, near Radio Club, Colaba
When: Till Oct 17, 11 AM – 6 PM