The third week of #InAugustCompany saw photographs made by artists pondering over familial relationships, their connections to their living spaces, their everyday routines, and objects and living creatures that have revealed themselves to have special meaning to them in the duration of the lockdown. Check out a few photographs and the stories behind them below.
“This lockdown has been life-altering for many reasons. I was one of the many who quit jobs to pursue their passion. On March 2, I had walked out of office, and on the 23rd we went for an indefinite lockdown. Enduring that itself had been a learning experience.
“On the first day of the lockdown I’d decided to start using photography for documentation. I call the resulting series ‘Quarantime’. The challenge I put myself to was to see how much I could capture within the confines of a lockdown. This meant capturing portraits, mostly on phone, and within the vicinity of my surroundings (with the maximum radius of a kilometer). Thanks to photography, I started noticing beauty in little things that I probably never would have noticed otherwise within the place I live. I saw a spectra of people at the height of their element. From people wanting to help and people who just wanted to survive to people who just wanted to make a living, there was a wide variety. Things such as the emptiness of the streets that were once filled with traffic, the first time I saw the sea in three months, the beauty of the sky, the relationships with terraces, sporadic traffic, and the flora and fauna in this city made me see life in a different light, as does photography.
“I now have a repository of over 130 photos in both colour and monochrome. I put them up as stories on my instagram handle, for each day a new observance is made. And I will continue to capture until the lockdown is really lifted. I might then reset and document a different part of life.
“In this process, I learnt nuances of street photography, and I am trying to get better at it. I had the inhibition of capturing people and overstepping boundaries. I now know how to tread that thin line carefully. I’ve now also had a philosophical metamorphosis of how life can be and what entails it, and I wish to progress in terms or learning. I hope you like my photos and you see what I see and more.”
#InAugustCompany with Arun Kumar, who has documented parts of his life during the lockdown.
#InAugustCompany with Soundarajan
“Am I reflecting my thoughts in person or in terms of my actions? In this course of time, photography made me introspect about where I stand.
“It gives me breath to see how I reflect my thoughts, fear, anger, tolerance, happiness and complexities in managing relationships inside or outside my four walls. This course of time gave me an understanding about the complexity of the relationship I had with my father, and how a hitch in the family business took its toll on our personal life during the lockdown.
“I present my work ‘Far’, which is about the way I drifted from my father in my 30s.”
#InAugustCompany with Deepti Rai
“All through quarantine, I noticed that my routines started feeling repetitive and days started melting into one another. It took me quite some time to finally pull out my camera and create something. This was the first series I made in quarantine, and it also drew me out of my haze for a solid amount of time. I learnt that it was okay to be slow and patient with yourself and understood the importance of taking time to properly recharge. This time at home also gave me space to earnestly explore mediums and ideas for what they were and not for the purpose of reaching a particular end goal. Photography helped me get out of my headspace and follow my intuition without overthinking it. I made this series reflective of my day spent trying not to lose my sense of time and reality.”
“When this lockdown began, my dad and I were staying with a friend of his. His place happened to be the tallest building in our village! That’s where I shot the photos of the bats above. I used to sit on my terrace from 5:00 – 7:30 PM in the evenings, watching the patterns they made flying above and wondering where they came from, where they went.
“Soon after, I found two newborn baby squirrels abandoned by a roadside. Growing up, I’d always lived in an area teeming with living creatures, especially squirrels, birds and tiny insects. Some of my fondest memories of my mother are of the two of us raising baby squirrels together, and her stories about the squirrels she rescued in her childhood.
Before I knew it, my life started revolving around keeping the two squirrels alive! I was either feeding them or playing with them 24×7. Once they could fend for themselves, I set them free.
“I also began photographing the birds and insects around me more and more. Watching insects and the beauty they carry always fills me with wonder. The best thing I got out of this lockdown was the time it gave me to observe and photograph the space around me and the creatures I share it with.”
“Photography for me has been a catalyst to observe the changing pattern and lifestyle of my family during the lockdown and documenting details at home.
“The Daily Object Project is an exploration of documenting the very basic objects that are used by my family members. The process of approaching this was simple. I asked my grandparents, parents and my brother to collect 10 objects used the most by them on a daily basis. Each object has a story to tell.
“From my grandfather’s HMT watch, booked prior to buying, bought in the year 1961 to an old cassette player still being used by him to listen to radio in the evenings, bought at fancy market in Calcutta some 40 years ago. From the magnifying glass he uses to read the fine print on packaging to the torch that is kept beside his pillow used during his frequent walks to the water tank to check the level of water. From my grandmother’s old mirror again was bought in Calcutta around 45 years ago, parts of it stuck to it using tape on a few broken edges, that she uses everyday to put a red bindi perfectly in the middle of her eyebrows. From my father’s T.V. remote cladded with a newly put up plastic cover to the reading glasses he uses everyday to read books, watch a movie or while using the phone. A few objects from my mother’s morning stroll in the garden plucking a few champa and marigold flowers and leaves from the Tulsi plant (holy basil) to the surma dani (kohl container) she and sometimes I use. From my brother’s cricket ball and his cricket gloves that he uses to play cricket in the evening to the book that he has only recently started to read.
“All these objects come together, sometimes intermingling, sometimes far apart, sometimes a vintage object, sometimes a newly bought, sometimes plucked up from the garden, sometimes a source of a sound, to highlight certain qualities of each of their personalities, and reflecting the routine and lifestyle followed my family members.”