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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Humane eye

It was the greed of going to New York that pushed me to participate in the competition and brought me to this point...

It was the greed of going to New York that pushed me to participate in the competition and brought me to this point,” jokes Vicky Roy,a 22-year-old who once lived on the streets of Delhi. Roy’s youthful smile and demeanor belie the maturity of his current body of work. WTC Now opened at Bodhi Art Gallery this Tuesday courtesy the Asia Society India Centre and the American Centre.

Project World Trade Centre (WTC),sponsored by the Wilhelm & Karl Maybach Foundation and Silverstein Properties,funded four young photographers to travel New York to photograph the World Trade Centre. Roy returned with gritty images of working-class men toiling on the new towers and some breathtaking views of the seen from an aerial view.

“It was difficult shooting since we had access to the site only once a week,” recalls the Bengal-born Roy. His first solo in 2007 in Delhi,Street Dream,flung him into the public eye. “I did really badly in my 10th Standard and I realised studying was not for me. Then I took up photography seriously,apprenticing with man Anay Mann,” says Roy,who also practiced at the Triveni Kala Sangam.

Roy ran away from home at the age of 11 and worked as a waiter at a dhaba. Life changed when he came to the Salaam Baalak Trust—his foster home. “Initially I thought I’d eat their food and run off. But I found children happy there. One could play,work out in the gym and take up any hobby. Back home with my grandparents,I was not allowed to go anywhere,” he smiles. Mentored by Anubhav Nath,Roy blossomed into a confident and keen-eyed lens man.

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Roy prefers to shoot in black-and-white,“Colour does not capture emotion the way black-and-white does,” he explains. Obviously he shot only four images in colour,one of which is the spectacular bird’s-eye view of the WTC site taken at night with a fish-eye lens. The image captures the restless spirit of New York. Other images capture men in overalls,hard hats and ropes,struggling to erect four towers in the place of the two that fell on September 11th. “I noticed workers in America have more protective gear on than workers in India. Culturally,this was different for me so I wanted to capture their war-like attire,” observes the artist.

Future plans include a show in 2010. This time Salaam Baalak will be muse.

First published on: 09-09-2009 at 05:30:37 am
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