At 7.30 am, every day, you’ll find him seated on the steps of a pista-green building between Gamdevi Police Station and Chowpatty. His dishevelled grey mane flowing into a Santa Claus beard with him wearing a dusty kurta that is framed by the peeling white paint on a door (perhaps sealed forever) can be spotted from a distance. It’s an image that makes you wonder. Had a pair of kohl-lined eyes once watched him through the spaces between the wooden slats on the shutters? Was she sent away? Married off to another? Is his soul frozen in a happier time? Do his eyes gaze upon a ghost?
Two years ago, Shailesh Andrade, then 35, decided to record the stories he found on the streets of this city. Possessed by this passion, he packed up his multi-car servicing business in Worli and signed up for a year-long course at Udaan School of Photography. Today, Andrade is a contributing photojournalist for an international news agency and has just been roped in by St Paul’s Institute of Communication Education (SPICE), an organisation committed to imparting world-class career-oriented training to the youth, to inspire others to follow his lead.
So, this weekend, Andrade and lifestyle photographer Sandeep Dhopate will guide photo enthusiasts through Bandra, which excited Andrade because it’s easily accessible plus, “the area provides so many opportunities to photograph the contrasts and diversity in our country. For instance, you’ll see small shops backed by mammoth glass-and-metal malls, all just metres away from a gaothan where life goes on at its own slow pace, where people can be seen reclining on rocking chairs on their porches, sipping beer at 10 am.” On day two, participants will sift through their work and select photographs to showcase at the institute.
“There’s no better way to tell these stories than through photographs,” shares Andrade who’s glad that the hobby has been simplified through digital technology. “Photography helps you connect with your inner artist,” he feels, “Street photography makes you start looking at the world differently. You have to express your views through your images, because while anyone can click a photo, a visual artist must have something to say through his or her work.” Each photographer has something different to say, Andrade continues, “because a photograph is a product of your life experiences, everything you’ve seen and felt...it captures more than just a scene or a moment in time; it captures your emotions, your beliefs and world view, and may well reveal something about yourself to you.”
On October 26 and 27
FOR DETAILS Spice, St Pauls Media Complex, 24th Road, TPS III, Di Bella Coffee Shop Building,
Bandra (W). CALL 9833806739