Ishan Kohli‘s photostory: Through My Eyes

#1: Entrance

When you search for the name Nithari on the internet, you will find nothing, but articles related to the serial killings that took place in the village 16 years ago. I decided to go to the village myself and have a look at how it looks like in the present day. What I saw was striking, somewhat dark. My rationale for choosing this village was to explore rural life of a place that was defamed years back. What did I find? Let me try to take you to the place itself and look at it together.

#2: Shadow through the Street

A special picture to me. My shadow acts as an element in the picture. When you enter the village, you will find typical old-style food stalls, repair shops, children playing, people on cycles. The unpaved roads show the condition of the village which has not been developed. This picture is special to me as I feel attached to it. When I was shooting the picture, I did not have second thoughts and clicked the shutter immediately as I found myself in frame.

#3: Motion

I was waiting for the right time to click the shutter so that I find an object for my picture right in the center of the picture. An element is how the picture is divided in two halves, a striking contrast of light and dark. Another fascinating element to me is the streak of light from top-right, lighting up the subject from right. The blur of the child adds weight to the image and signifies motion. Another person can be seen cycling towards the left, signifying how cycling is common in the village and can be seen as an important means of transport for the village people.

#4: Lights and Confinement

We see a very confined and narrow street with a person looking at the camera and a few children at the back. What we see as confined, is the people’s normal in the village, there are not one but multiple narrow streets which make up these people’s daily commute. The wall on the right extending to the top makes it look like a shut space with no interaction from the outside world. A striking element is the picture is the light in the background. While I was editing the picture, I felt that the real color of the light should stay while the rest of the picture should stay monochrome.

#5: To Nowhere

When I saw this passage, it felt gloomy. Passages usually lead to places, but in this case it is merely a cubicle with piled up junk. For me, it feels that this is a passage to nowhere. The condition of the walls also shows the dingy maintenance of the place. A good example of punctum is what I will call this.

#6: Is God real?

A yet another gloomy image. When I came across a huge statue of Lord Ganesh, half covered in filthy cloth just left on the corner of a street, I felt uncomfortable. It made me think whether the people who bought the statue for worship really know where this has ended up. If they are really concerned about worshipping god then why is the statue lying shady.

#7: Countless Livelihoods

From entering the village to its exit, the thing I saw every now and then was cycles and more cycles. I found this frame intriguing. The object is the livelihood of many in the village and their lives revolve around the subject. The thought of this made me shoot this image as I found an idol cycle on the corner of a street. The shadow adds a lot of weight to the image.

#8: Calm and Hectic

A little parking, filled with the daily bread of many. Here we see many ice cream stalls parked with one another for the night. This is a calm image, but the next day, these stalls will be off to work with their owners for a hectic day full of hard work. The rationale behind this image is this thought of contrast itself.

#9: The Helpless and Vulnerable

A portrait of a guard appointed in front of a complex. How one needs to work day and night for earning for themselves and their family. When I saw the subject sitting in the cold in front of a small fire, I thought about how difficult it is for them to earn, but do they have a choice? Not just him but this is the reality for many in this village and in our country.

#10: Adieu

As I was leaving the village I found a group of men with a women and her kid gathered around a worker to get their work done. It was an end to a journey with mixed feelings and I wanted to capture it. A plethora of emotions during this small journey for me is how I would like sum this up. It is not just another assignment but a real life experiential learning for me.

Ishan Kohli is a student in Shiv Nadar University. This essay is done as a part of an assignment in a course taught by Dr. Sreedeep Bhattacharya.

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