Chandan Ahuja (India)
Portraits of Urban India
“Like many others, I started with street and travel photography. Working for magazines gave me an opportunity to shift my focus, and now I document urban traits, the psychology and thought processes of the social transition of which I’m a part. Today, photography has become a medium for self development. My practice of this art is now more instinctive. It catalyses me to see things in a worldly perspective, provides me with self awareness and understanding of my surroundings. My projects are not only a strong expression of my feelings but also an urban documentation of zeitgeist."
“Photography was incidental and impulsive for me. Naturally, my family and well wishers had a more secure corporate career path prescribed for me. My passion for photography started with an introduction to a photo feature on Indira Gandhi in a news magazine, jewelled with photographs by Raghu Rai, while I was still in school. One image in particular captured my attention, in which Ms.Gandhi was photographed sitting on her desk with a number of ministers standing, waiting for their orders all in conclusive submission. This, in its simplicity, showed the power of the medium. After ten years of association with Raghu Rai, and practicing the orthodox Guru Shishya (master – apprentice) tradition, I now realize I was more interested in the author of the image, and the story he narrated within. Growing up without a father I had always missed a strong male figure who would guide me, discipline me and most of all bond with me. This obsessive inspiration had its apparent downfall too. My ideologies got coloured by his perspectives; my thoughts were borrowed from him. Soon, I felt the need to find my own voice and opinion, in photography and otherwise, outside the strong influence of my mentor. The process of learning was easy but to unlearn was just the opposite, keeping in mind not to lose the relevance and value of what I've experienced, and the honest and genuine environment in which I have experienced it. With this began a new approach and mindset towards the medium.”
Images © Chandan Ahuja.