Life begins on the other side of despair – Sartre
A hub for hedonists, a wellspring of inspiration for creatives, and a haven for history buffs, Paris is a fantasy destination for millions of travelers each year. To many, it's a living museum. But Paris also pulses and evolves. These photographs are an essence of its ethos-culled from 6000 images taken over a span of three years of my stay in Paris.
The graffiti, the iconic museums, and corner cafés feel anchored in another time, while a dynamic, insignia keeps it on its toes. It's precisely this juxtaposition of old and new that makes Paris the perpetually perfect place to visit.
Portrait of a City
I explored Paris for days and nights, and months.These photographs are inhabited by "spells," floating objects, incongruous fixtures, events that arise suddenly, unexpected, as if these images were suspending time.
The most striking part is the naturality of existence, when you can keep walking devouring the image of inner calm: the beauty of night in this modernist banality, like a wisp, a poetic intrusion, enchantment of everyday life. At the Paras Lachais Cemetry the graves throw up architectural intricacies and a reverence for the seraphic and the testimony of time. Windows then become an elixir of multiple apertures created into a single entity. We have a great ability to communicate but are incapable of empathising which is why we settle for sympathy.
Every nation doles out freedom of speech but the irony is we only really listen to what we want to and the rest we either silence or pretend we can neither hear nor understand. The sad reality is that many realities of what is happening and has happened are silenced and with the finite time frame in which we experience life almost every reality or truth becomes relative.
Our inability to rise beyond our deterministic understanding of each other in the context of a social importance leaves us fatally resigned in a fight against ourselves and to keep repeating history.
A history rooted in realising there is no free lunch so if you want it you got to take it from someone else. Leading to an inevitable cycle of expressing dissent and an inability to understand the motivations behind the status quo. From the beginning to the end of our lives we celebrate and are encouraged to gear our entire endeavour on figuring out how to leave an infinite and definitive mark on the existence and consciousness of our collective being.
Solitude on a Chair
I walked, cycled, spent many hours in solitude to realise the truth of Goethe's words when he said Paris is a "Universal city where every step upon a bridge or a square recalls a great past, where a fragment of history is unrolled at the corner of every street."
Arguably a testament to the civility of our species is this desire to sit upright as we think and communicate our-self... Well... If we don't have to stand that is. But that's a function of evolution, not choice. Beyond it's utilitarian functions a chair represents where ever it is that mankind chooses to sit to ponder upon the struggle between his conscious and conscientious being.
Nature is possibly the one constant awe inspiring reality we get to witnessing. Its complexity and grandeur are simply majestic. While human beings have constantly strived to transfix themselves into 'the landscape', that is where it ends and we cant really imitate the Majesty of nature.
For me a still life is the intellectual exercise of animating the inanimate. Taking a pause to make the unseemly seemly. It raises the proverbial question of whether we breathe life into what we create or simply transform a pre existing life into a more identifiable one... As a photographer Still Lifes are like water at the dinner table, I need it not only to quench my thirst but to appreciate the rest, that I consume.
The desire to emote is visceral and enduring to the human condition. Our ability to create language is a testament to this, so is our expression through art. However the juncture where art meets the power of the written word is what we identify as graffiti- an uncensored voice of the silenced, where people channelize the oldest human tradition of risking life and limb (literally) simply to merely have their voice heard... Also. As a subject however a consistent value that holds true as Sartre said, No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point, which is why the context is as important as the content.
And so be it.