Photographer narrates stories of man on the street

Last Updated: Jan 16, 2012, 14:08 PM IST

New Delhi: After working for years as a trade union activist, it is no wonder that photographer Gopalkrishnan Nair chose to bring out the glaring differences between classes as the theme in his latest exhibition.

Capturing the "semi-clad" poor man on the street, Nair has exhibited a series of pictures titled "APL/BPL vs IPL" at
the AIFACS gallery here.

"The man on the street is rarely recognized. He does not come under the Workmen`s Compensation Act or any other act.

The day he dies, his name is deleted from the census record. My exhibition is dedicated to the millions of such voiceless Indians, when others are engaged in discussing cricket and IPL," he says.

The photographer says his experience of capturing the poor man on the streets has been an incredible experience in itself. Nair describes that while his subjects were inhibited they were a natural to the camera.

"The love and affection that you get while you are taking their pictures is in itself a reward to me as a photographer.

There is a picture that I had taken while on a visit to Bastar in Chattisgarh. The people in that picture remembered me even after six years when I made a second visit to the place," says Nair.

Nair turned into a full-time photographer after his retirement but his romance with the lens has been far longer.

He began photography in 1975 soon after he came to Delhi from Kottayam in Kerala. Nair began taking pictures of nature with a simple camera gifted to him but soon the hobby turned into passion with him enrolling for evening classes in photography, after work.

Over the years, Gopalkrishnan Nair has exhibited his works throughout the country and the displays have ranged from the vastness of the deserts to nudes portrayed as if they are sculptures.

"I used to carry my camera at all the trade union meetings, capturing the world around me. Each photograph allows you tell a different story and I am happy that I have been able to tell so many which often go unnoticed," he says.

From a child sleeping on a cradle made of wicker basket to various unorganised labourers, the exhibition in Delhi showcases several protagonists all narrating their stories through the photographs.

The pictures are from as far back as the 1980s to the present and are from places all across the country.

"The oldest picture that I have taken is of an old man with his son sitting on a bullock cart which I had taken near the Press Club at Chelmsford Road in New Delhi," he says.

The current exhibition is on till January 17.

PTI