• Manoj Kumar

Life on this planet: City in pictures – Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Updated: Apr 5

I would like to present my latest collection – Gandhinagar, GUJARAT!

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In her latest work, Ashwathi brings out the essence and Soul of Gujarat through her photographs. An Essay by Manoj Kumar

Geography is Destiny! Unknown

Next time you travel to a new and foreign land, stop for a moment, take a deep breath in, and look at the people who live there, look at them attentively, look at their clothes, their activities and surely you will see a reflection of the land they inhabit.

In her latest work, Ashwathi captures images from Gandhinagar and its surrounding villages and masterfully creates a mosaic of fantastical artistic expression. These can be broken down into 3 major themes i.e. The workers, The contrast and The conclusion.

The workers

What I also noticed in these pictures is that numerous stories are spoken through the eyes of the subjects. Their will to survive the harsh landscape that they inhabit can be seen in the sheer intent with which they stare and concentrate while doing their work. The worker in his foundry, the potter in a meditative state, the lone woman carrying firewood and the lady carrying stacked pots of water peer on purposefully forward, like in a trance, unfazed by any of life’s troubles and tribulations. So incredible is the power of these pictures that when I peer into the eyes of these people I feel the warm glow of the morning sun, the passing seasons, the hard pebbled soil, the sparse rainfall and the dry vegetation of the land.

The contrast

Extraordinary contrasts are created through these pictures. On one hand, the old lady with deep and defined wrinkles is flashing a look of puzzlement and interrogation, while on the other side of the spectrum the man with scruffy hair and remarkably deep laugh lines taunts us with his effulgent smile. And in the middle of the spectrum, the young girl facing away from the camera baffles us with an indecipherable expression.

The conclusion

Finally, an award plaque, old cups, a dusty school bag, chains of plastic pearls, electric wires, a night light shaped like a car headlight, 2 prosthetic right legs and countless other items, discarded by people, thrown away forever, now sit by the side of the street waiting for a new buyer, for a new owner to once again breathe life into them.

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