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Robert D Stephens’ debut show, “Mumbai Articles”, in November last year created quite a buzz. Mumbaikars thronged the Artisans’ Gallery to catch glimpses of the city’s favourite landmarks such as Malabar Hills, the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and the Imperial Towers, taken from a height of 15,000 feet.
The images were shot using a small digital camera by the American-born architect. The show was generally well received, but there was one complaint.
“Someone I was speaking to at the show pointed out that these images were hardly representation of Mumbai as the photos of suburbs remained undocumented,” says Stephens.
Over the next two months, Stephens began documenting milestone structures of the suburbs of the city from the air, and admits he was pleasantly surprised.
“I didn’t know what to expect as I was not familiar with the history and architecture of the suburbs. But I’ve managed to capture some stunning visuals for the collection,” he says. Currently, there are eight works in his collection called “Mumbai North” that is on display at the Artisans’ Gallery for the Kala Ghoda festival taken over a period of two months.
Through his aerial photographs, Stephens wants to draw attention to the “under-appreciated beauty of the suburbs”. For instance, a breathtaking photograph captures the stretch from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park covering the areas of Tulsi, Vehar and Powai lakes and Aarey Park covering close to 16,000 acres.
He also points out the geographical significance of the suburbs. “The Powai lake, for example, was built as a sort of water tank.