Street beat

Stop by at Mumbai Art Room to take a look at the exhibition Indian Street Photography: Alive and Well. Each photograph on display is characterised by shrewd social commentary, gorgeous compositions, and flashes of humour

It took Susan Hapgood, founder and director of Mumbai Art Room, about three weeks to get together the 23 frames that are part of the exhibition titled Indian Street Photography: Alive and Well. The exhibition includes works that reflect the growth of street photography as an art form in India. While there are a couple of pictures from the late 20th century, most frames are from the last few years.

Ram Rahman, Bazaar Chitli Quabar, Delhi, 2007

According to Hapgood, street photography is thriving in India, having enjoyed an uninterrupted existence for over thirty years. Inspired by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and other foreign photographers, Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh first started working on this genre of art in the '60s and '70s. Hapgood was unable to access works by the first generation Indian photographers. But this exhibition features works by Ravi Agarwal, Pablo Bartholomew, Chirodeep Chaudhuri, Shahid Datawala, Dhruv Malhotra, Anne Maniglier, Zubin Pastakia, Ram Rahman, Riddhi Shah, Ketaki Sheth, and Sooni Taraporevala.

Dhruv Malhotra, Untitled from the Noida Soliloquoy series, 2008,
Courtesy Malhotra/Photoink

It may sound cliched but every frame on display tells myriad stories. Through the picture shot in 2007, Ram Rahman captures the hustle bustle of a bazaar in Delhi; more recently Riddhi Shah freeze frames an anti-corruption activist peeping out of a local train in Mumbai. "American street photography peaked in the '60s and '70s and I was very keen on knowing what was still driving Indian street photography. There's a lot happening on the streets and the next generation of street photographers in India are flourishing," observes Hapgood. 

Till: January 6, 2012, 11 am to 7 pm (Tuesday to Saturday)
At: Mumbai Art Room, behind Pipewala Building, Fourth Pasta Lane, Colaba.
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What is Street Photography?
Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situa-tions within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings. Street photography uses the techniques of straight photography in the sense that it holds up a mirror to society. It often tends to be ironic and can be distanced from its subject matter. Within India, the two artists who first propelled street photography fast forward are Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh, both working in the '60s and
'70s onward.

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