OUTSIDE IN – 70s and 80s – A TALE OF 3 CITIES
Select images of BOMBAY at the INDIA focus exhibition | St. Moritz Art Masters 2014 | Switzerland | 22-31 August 2014 more....
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Personalised evites created for the exhibition at the National Museum,New Delhi.

The Way We Were

Extracted from Geeta Kapur’s essay "Familial Narratives and their Accidental Denouncements", from the catalog of exhibition, Where Three Dreams Cross. [click here to read the full version]

The sfumato effect of Bartholomew’s black and white photographs comes from shooting in natural light, inside homes, under weak bulbs, or in dusky exteriors and under dim streetlights. It comes from working with cheaper film pushed to the limit; from a tonal range devised in his father Richard Bartholomew's home-made darkroom. Adjusting technical means to aesthetic ends, he seems to privilege a sedimented image that denotes becoming, as it does mortality. In the cycle of life and death so readily acted out by the young, what remains tantalizing is the lightness with which the existential burden of death is nurtured, coddled, tossed and relayed.

These early photographs are at the core of Bartholomew’s other ‘outsider’ images taken in the years between 1972 and 1982. His reach expands from gentle dereliction to harsher realities: "a grim portrayal of a junky friend, a Danish woman", shooting up in one of central Delhi's opium dens where he himself hung out after school; eunuchs in the neighbourhood and, in Bombay a little later, film extras, prostitutes, ragpickers and, at the end of the road, human leftovers abandoned to the metropolitan street. He continued with self-assigned projects, including a fine series on Chinese working-class migrants in Tangra (Calcutta) that confirmed his affinities beyond the self-exiled to marginalized communities and classes. These are, of course, classical genres of photography - the socially erased figure being integral to, almost immanent in, the camera's eye. If in Bartholomew’s oeuvre this body of work claims a special place, it is because it is part of his teenage self-making: seen in conjunction with his images of love and friendship, it acquires a keen vulnerability. It is special because he was among the earliest Indian photographers to realize and expose social circumstances within an existential continuum - as figures of abjection, alienation, intransigence and struggle. And they are also, in a more generic reading of human suffering, precursors to his subsequent career of international photojournalism, tracking natural disasters and political conflict across the globe: always on the road, fast on the draw and supplying dire images formatted for a story-cum-photo-essay to the avid world of news magazines.

Extracted from Lens is more. by Going Anon and on

These photographs are a part of Outside In – A Tale of Three Cities by Pablo Bartholomew, one of our leading photojournalists. Taken by Bartholomew in the 70s, soon after being kicked out of school for having drugs on his person, this is the beginning of his photography.

The 70s are frozen in to gorgeous, smoke–ridden life in these photographs. His world is made up of heavy–lidded women who puff on joints and scrawny men who dance wearing bell bottoms and argue about vaguely–leftist ideology. It’s tough to believe these outstanding photographs are taken by a kid playing around with his camera. "Pooh and Pablo" is not the best picture in this set – he has some absolute gems here – but it’s sensual, fuzzy with playful arousal and so intimate that you can almost taste the kiss just standing in front of the photograph.

This is the pinnacle of domestic photography as far as I’m concerned and those of us who haven’t dated photographers will curse this omission. Those of us who have dated photographers who didn’t take pictures like these of us would probably want to kill the ex-s or just imagine themselves in the pictures, instead of lovelies like Pooh. You can’t get to press your eye any closer to the keyhole than these photographs.

Related Exhibitions  "A Critic's Eye"    •    "Chronicles of a Past Life"


Panorama © Vivek Dev Burman
Full screen view

Exhibitions

At PHOTOINK, New Delhi
14 June to 17 August, 2013

At OBSCURA Festival, China House, Georgetown Penang, Malaysia
21 to 30 June, 2013

At Chobimela, Drik House, Dhaka, Bangladesh
25 January to 07 February, 2013

At Agkor Photo Festival, Siem Reap, Cambodia, Ecole Francaise d´Extreme–Orient
24 November to 16 December, 2012

At Head on Photo Festival, Sydney Australia, TAFE Sydney Institute of Photography, The Muse
07 May to 03 June, 2012

Lakshana Art Gallery, Lane opp. Kirtilal Diamond on TTK Road, Chennai
12 to 18 March, 2012

Fishbar, 176 Dalston Lane, London, E8ING
01 to 25 September, 2011

International Orange Photo Festival, Changsha, China
22 to 29 October, 2010

The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Harrington Mansions, Kolkata
16 August to 26 September, 2010

At Bodhi Berlin, "Eclectic Images"
10 January to 03 February, 2009

At Bodhi Art, New York
09 May to 14 June, 2008

At the National Gallery of Modern Art, Level 2, Mumbai
05 to 26 Mar, 2008

At the National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi
27 January to 29 February, 2008

At the Rencontres d´Arles
July 2007
 

Groups Shows

Select Works from 70’s & 80’s, OUTSIDE IN, A tale of 3 cities

at the LOFT/Mumbai, India
20 November to 17 December, 2010

Fotomuseum Winterthur (Zurich) Switzerland
11 June to 22 August, 2010

 

 

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