WIith25 years of experience as a photojournalist, Fawzan Husain, a former MiD DAY photographer, launched his book Between Bombay and Mumbai yesterday. As an introduction to the book, his work is being exhibited at the Piramal Art Gallery, NCPA, till November 12.
Husain’s photos encapsulate Mumbai as he has watched it evolve over two and a half decades. Between Bombay and Mumbai depicts the ’80s in black and white photos of the looms and underworld dons Karim Lala and Haji Mastan. The ’90s have colour images of Sachin Tendulkar, Shobhaa De and the launch of the Maruti sedan. The 2000s, called the New Millennium, have bold photos of parties and ladies at the derby.
Husain’s photos stand as they show you the city in a new light. “I would reach photoshoots 15 minutes before the appointed time to get comfortable with the place and people,” he says. While working with MiD DAY, Husain had to abide by deadlines and deliver photos that, in those days, would take an hour to develop. So on Sundays or during public holidays, he would return to the places that caught his attention during the week.
This led to unique pictures with interesting stories that have found their way into the book. “One Sunday, I visited the Worli fishing village where I photographed men packing the dried fish. In Kamathipura, I saw a tailor’s shop with photos of yesteryear heroines, but it was empty, and I wanted a human element. I returned and saw an old man stitching ladies’ clothes. His age, juxtaposed against the photos of the heroines made it a great picture,” he describes.
“When I found out that Fawzan was showcasing his work, I decided to give him a platform. People have seen his work in the five column space of a newspaper or magazine but when they will see his images at the exhibition it will speak to them,” says Mukesh Parpiani, head, Piramal Art Gallery and Centre for Photography as an Art Form.
Husain says that while some elements about the city have remained constant, others are forever changing. “Train travel has remained the same as has the clamour for Bollywood. In the scorching sun people still stand around and watch a shoot. But bungalows with red-tiled roofs have vanished. Those made for beautiful pictures and were a photographer’s delight,” he rues.
Husain likens being a photographer to a soldier. He feels that like the latter, a photographer too has to keep walking armed with his camera to discover the city. The images in Between Bombay to Mumbai are a testament to his unique work ethic and love of the city.