Delhi, for most, is a door opening to their dreams. The city, which is the heart of many people’s aspirations and hopes, also happens to be a regal beauty, known for the architectural wonders it has hosted all these years. People have gone to varying lengths to capture this architectural beauty of the city and so did a 24-year-old.
Yuvraj Khanna, who is a lawyer at the High Court by profession, is also a drummer with his band ‘Chaos in the Capital’. But it was something he pursued recently with a lot of passion that brought him to the mainstream news. Khanna, showed the past and the present of Delhi, by juxtaposing old pictures with new ones of popular monuments. The result? Absolutely beautiful pictures!”I essentially wanted to capture the changes the city saw through the centuries,” Khanna said, talking to indianexpress.com.
“I essentially wanted to capture the changes the city saw through the centuries,” Khanna said, talking to indianexpress.com.
But if one wonders if it is the first time that someone was documenting the apparent changes in the city, then it is not. What makes Khanna’s project stand out among all others is that he did not go the conventional ‘Before-After’ way. Rather, he sourced the pictures of famous architectures of Delhi online, shortlisted 50 of them, printed and then juxtaposed them on to the recent pictures of the same monuments that he has clicked.
Sounds easy, right? It was not. “The project required creating a seamless connect between both the pictures, even one haphazard line would have looked out of place,” Khanna said. And that took him scrutiny, hard work, several visits and a Canon 600 D. Khanna remembers clicking Humayun’s Tomb, Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place as taking more time than the others. “The gardens that we now see at the Humayun’s Tomb were then used as farmlands which made it meticulous to align the photos accordingly,” he said. “CP was an absolute pain to capture! As difficult as it seems to believe, Central Delhi is greener and there is a dramatic change in the landscape.” “Chandni Chowk, which was once the hub of the nobility once, is now home to rampant illegal construction, hence making it difficult,” he said.
And Khanna chose to go through these pains for that perfect picture because the “visual contrast” that juxtaposition of pictures provides is much more than otherwise.
While he worked on ‘Delhi Juxtaposed’, which is what he calls his project, little joys managed to come his way too. As difficult as it was to capture many monuments, some, he managed to click in no time. “St James at Kashmere Gate was one of the quickest pictures I had taken.” And at times, Khanna said, he was standing at the exact same spot as the photographers of the older pictures were.
The young lawyer, who completed his schooling from Delhi Public School, Noida, was inclined towards photography and films from a very young age. “I started with a Film SLR, and so, got to learn all the processes that went into making a photograph like it was and that involved setting a camera, how to develop films, etc. He now proudly owns a Yashica TLR, a Canon AE 1 and a set of manual lenses.
The most pertinent problem that many face while sourcing pictures on the Internet is copyright. Khanna however, managed to come out unscathed. “I wanted to do a clean project. So I made sure that no such problems would arise. The copyright has a certain validity period. These were really old pictures and their copyright has expired,” he said.
The young lawyer understands the power of social media as a platform for people who want to explore the horizons of their creativity. “I think social media is exactly what you make of it. I find inspiring and new work coming up every day on the Internet, specifically on Instagram and I follow these works,” he said.
But, he realises that in this age, more than the photograph itself, the captions and hashtags speak a thousand words. “People are increasingly dependent on captions today to ensure the audience connects with their pictures,” he explained.
And he is not complaining. “I understand the reach of the Internet is undisputed. I never thought something like this would happen when I started off, and it did,” he said.
Between managing work and practising for his band, Khanna has been taking out time to visit the iconic buildings of the city. He is happy, but will visit some of these places again, because he believes the juxtaposition could be better.
As of now, he is brainstorming ideas and making a video on Delhi’s buildings, called ‘Architecture can never lie’.