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Photo Title: Vintage
By Ahana Gangopadhyay
From: Kolkata, India
Photo taken in: Chitkul, India
Portfolios: Art of Building 2012 Finalists
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At the risk of romanticizing poverty, I see a fairy tale- like ambiance in this figure and her surrounds. The arched window opening on her immediate left seems to function as a miniaturized doorway, of which she guards the entrance. Her ragged garments also imbue her with a timeless wizardry; an archetypal witch holding a twig-wand. The objects around her hold a mystique in their intrinsic elemental organic properties- containers, bread, clothes, etc. But as my eye wanders back up to the top of her plastic tarp roof, the enchantment dissolves. I wonder if my fascination is with her as the “other’, as her turned head permits me a long voyeuristic stare. Or maybe that observation is in itself tainted by my Western perspective. From a purely formal observation, the compartmentalization of the picture encloses small related vignettes, framed out by longer horizontal lines in the top and bottom. I’m considerably more comfortable with the unequivocal beauty of Bird’s Towers, 100 Floors, and In the Brick Kiln. Bird’s Towers has a soaring, rushing elevation that pulls the figure and profane ground into sacred space. An energy force seems to be emanating from the top of the towers themselves, darkening the sky where they meet the patchy clouds. The (bird) holes in the enormous cylindrical forms also remind me of the musical drums in a player piano, or similarly arcane instrument. There’s a visual poetry between the axis mundi- where the earth meets the sky, and the silent suggestion of music and bird song. It’s an exquisite image.
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