A melange of decisive moments

The clatter of a busy market, women haggling over prices, cries of babies, incessant sound of parping horns and a voice going LaLaLa without much rhyme or reason.

Perhaps, all these sounds had nothing to do with any particular setting. But they tend to point towards life in India and the sounds lend meaning and form to the anonymous faces and stories.

That is exactly how ‘Indian PALabras’, the photography exhibition by photographer and journalist Rafa Gasso, captures the eddying tides of life and its undercurrents through smartphone photography at Instituto Cervantes.

The two projectors beam scenes from different parts of the country while an audio complements the projections, running as its sap of life.

But before you delve into the small photobook-sized snaps that are strung across an alcove, making for a personal experience, a brief introduction by the man at the helm, Rafa Gasso: “Indian PALabras is the re-encounter with the practice of photography in its purest state: one only shot developed in the liquid of words to depict one decisive instant (PAL) with a smartphone…”.

Layered with hashtags, his message and the use of smartphone for photography show a distinct inclination towards social media and the culture of clicking pictures while on the go.

The exhibition that captures portraits – of men, rats or a cows, face gazing at the camera – lays emphasis on the need of recording in a personal way, both words
and photography.

Palabras, the Spanish word, literally means words. The snaps, stringed and displayed in this enclosure, carry texts running under the visual message, depicting a very subjective approach as the messages convey the personal experience of the photographer.

For instance, in the picture that showcase the wrinkled hands of an old man in Nizamuddin, Rafa goes on to mention, his hands are 120 years old, so he infers, his eyes may have witnessed the Partition.

As Henri Cartier-Bresson, precisely noted in 20th century, “The decisive moment, it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organisation of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”

Rafa goes on to apply the sense of imperfection to his portraits as he clicks decisive moments across the Indian landscapes to collect a many decisive moments.
The photo exhibition is going on till July 13.

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