Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Supranav Dash | Trades Portraits

Photo © Supranav Dash-All Rights Reserved
I very much like this type of project. 

Everybody who's been to India knows that many occupations, trades and services are to a large extent linked to the prevailing caste system. For a few hundred of years, members of specific castes were rigidly tied to occupations, and could rarely deviate from them. These occupations, crafts and trade know-how were passed from generation to generation; from father to son...but how long will this continue with the globalization and the erosion of the caste system.

The photographs were made in Kolkata by Supranav Dash between 2011-2013. Kolkata was, of course, the capital of British Colonial India and also the commercial hub of the Indian sub-continent. I came across this work on TIME's Lightbox blog, and learned from the accompanying article by that Ms Jyoti Thottam that Supranav was influenced by Eugène Atget and Irving Penn who documented the trades and professions of London, Paris and New York.

The first photograph on the Lightbox blog is that of a Brahmin with a deformed cow, and those of you who have visited Pushkar will certainly recall such itinerant individuals with similar cows, trying to make meagre earnings by parading these unfortunate animals. 

I seldom read the comments that accompany such projects, but this time I did...piqued by curiosity at how viewers will react to the monochromatic photographs of India. True enough, a commentator didn't like it and described the choice as strange. She proceeded to insult another commentator who disagreed with her. Well, I think these monochromes perfectly fit the subject matter.

Supranav Dash was born and brought up in Kolkata, India. He has a BFA in Photography (Honors) from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn. His areas of interest are Fine Art and Social Documentary.

If you're interested in viewing the portraiys along with ambient sound (presumably of Kolkata's streets), drop by Supranav's Vimeo page.

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