'Photography isn't a job, it is an obsession, a lifestyle'

Dodging the colours and water guns on Holi, when we made our way from Bhogal to the only open south Indian outlet in New Friends Colony market, Jordi Pizarro, the 29- year-old Spanish photographer comfortably sat back perusing the menu with an air of a casual south Indian gastronome.

  Quickly ordering our round of dosas, we chatted over food about Jordi’s obsession with photography and his current project ‘The Believers’ that is being exhibited at Instituto Cervantes till April 30.

The ongoing exhibition showcases photographs from India, Cuba, Poland and Jerusalem, whereas Jordi’s project ‘The Believers’ is a long-term documentary project spanning four continents and 10 countries.  The shutterbug who has already spent over three years on this personal photographic project, winning accolades and scholarships while freelancing across the globe, says, “When you are out there, realising your dreams through your work, you fall in love with your profession. In a year’s time I get to travel across 10 countries, while being constantly searching for grants as a freelancer. It is not a job, it is an obsession, a lifestyle.” As he pauses, the beaming smile on his face sums up the expression.

Jordi started as a photographer working for Spanish newspapers. Since the last two years, he has been freelancing, while rigorously working on his documentary project. Taking a cue from the title of his exhibition an obvious query to him was about his beliefs.  “I believe in photography! I like to explore the complexity of human faith. It is a big question, the history of humanity revolves around it : why and how do people believe?” he says in a sombre tone.

It was the Kumbha Mela that inspired Jordi to hop down to the ghats of Allahabad to witness the elan of the festival. But does one pilgrimage justify the diversity of faiths in India? Jordi says, “No, it doesn’t. But I have decided to do only one chapter per country. While I covered the Hindu majority in India, I would want to contrast it with the Hindu minority in Malaysia. After all, my project is not just about religions, it is an anthropological study about human relations. And cultural places, pilgrimages have a deeper history to them.” His current exhibition depicts the miracle of Holy Fire in Jerusalem, a walk up on a mountainous pilgrimage of Grabarka in Poland, the sadhus of India and the San Lazaro’s Day pilgrimage in Cuba.

From living with gypsies in Granada, to playing Flamenco (Flamenco is both folk music and dance form) as obsessively as he does photography, Jordi loves to unravel life as it comes. Gradually working on his personal project, he plans to spend many years capturing believers around the world. His next few stops may well be Venezuela, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Next on Jordi’s list of priority is a website to promote his project for crowd funding, as he puts up images, videos and music of the believers marked up on a map. Stay tuned to witness the myriad believers around the world.

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