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The life of a city

The life of a city
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Urban reflections, is a collection of realistic and surreal images of Bombay (Mumbai, India), as seen by me, over the last seven years. These images capture the rapidly changing life in Mumbai, which has adopted the path of vertical growth during the last decade.

The exhibition being held on March 13 to 23 at Arpana Caur Gallery at Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, Sri Fort Institutional Area, marks a significant departure in the professional career of well-known photojournalist Chandu Mhatre. After shooting all major news events unfolding in India in the past four decades, he has lately been focusing on what can be characterized as fine art photography. 

Although the pictures that form Urban Reflections are primarily motivated by artistic considerations, they also tell the urban story of Mumbai’s soul. Urban Reflections is a result of Mhatre’s many journeys through Mumbai to chronicle how the city has changed under the impact of globalization and economic liberalization. The aim has been to capture the city far from its stereotypical images and give the city a touch of fine art photography.

This ‘makeover’ in the name of ‘development’ is changing the city’s skyline rapidly; in their quest for materialism, people are uprooted from their cultural moorings thereby resulting in urban chaos. Sea links, highways and flyovers inundated with vehicles have added to the frantic pace of life. The resulting images are seen reflected, on mirrored walls, windows and doors. Contemporary life in Mumbai is a vibrant kaleidoscope of colours and images.

The continuous flow of migrants to Mumbai makes it a melting pot of cultures and traditions. People from all levels of society come with hope, intellectual inputs, traditional values, religious beliefs and cultural nuances. They provide manpower needed to keep the city running. This in turn has an impact on urban life, creating opportunities as well as tensions due to conflicts of interest, beliefs, values and their survival instinct.

Based in New Delhi and Mumbai, India, Mhatre has worked for a wide variety of international media groups and global organizations. 

Apart from all the leading publications, leading international and Indian magazines and newspapers as well as a variety of global organizations has published his works.  Chandu’s pictures have been extensively used by UNICEF, UNDP, United Press International, Associated Press, Reuters News Agency, Fortune, Forbes, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Washington Post, Geo, The Times London, The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Marg Publications, CBS 60 Minutes, Debonair, India Today, Bombay Magazine, The Illustrated Weekly of India, Onlooker, Mirror, Imprint, The Times of India and The Indian Express.

Additionally, Chandu documented Portuguese history in Goa for the Institute of Cultural affairs in Macau, Government of Portugal. He photographed a book on The Warli for Lalit Kala Akadami. 
He has also researched and worked with CBS 60 Minutes for their program in India, 50 years of IIT, AIDS, Medical Tourism, Most beautiful woman in world, Aishwarya Rai and Bikram Yoga. He photo documented 1st Jazz Yatra, which was organized by The Bombay group in Mumbai in 1978.

He also specializes in fine art photography and archive exhibition photo printing for which he has set up his own printing unit. At present he is working on photo features and projects in India on human, social and environmental issues.

When: March 13 to 23
Where: Arpana Caur Gallery at Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, 4/6 Sri Fort Institutional Area
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