Street vignettes from across the world

He is on a wheelchair and she on his lap, holding hands and kissing each other. The couple, that sits against the backdrop of a Portuguese building in Lisbon, is enjoying their moment of love, which photographer Shoba Jolly beautifully captures in her work titled ‘Eternally Yours’. “Unlike in India, couples abroad are able to freely express their love for each other at public spaces. And this work shows a couple in such a tender moment,”
she smiles.

This image is among many others currently on display as part of StreetBeats, an exhibition of fine art photography by Jolly and Ahmed Firoz, which showcases the myriad hues of life on streets from across the world. The duo travelled to places like Singapore, India, Geneva, Poland, Warsaw, Korea, Uzbekistan and even Istanbul to capture the streets, and the people there.

“Streets are a reflection of a country and its people. Here, you will find people across all sections of the society. It is an authentic representation of a place,” Jolly tells Metrolife.Agrees Firoz, and says each image tells a story, which is unique in itself. He adds that he does not step out on the streets of a new place with a fixed idea in mind, and rather just clicks whatever interests him at that moment.

“The street is a vast world where life is ever changing, dynamic, transient, and ephemeral, all at the same time. Amongst this chaos and clutter, and the comings and goings, a busy street paints a true character of a nation, of the struggles of its citizens, of the onlookers or the energy of its workforce. I have captured all this through my lenses and put it up together for the show,” he says, flipping through a notebook of is works.

He takes a pause, opens a page with a black and white image of a fortune teller in Singapore, and continues, “This fortune teller sits in front of a temple and is always smoking a pipe. Every day, he sells hopes and provides solutions to people in distress. This image shows the stress and anxiety of the people even in a rich developed nation like Singapore.”

So while Jolly tries to capture and express moments which are reflective of a place through her work, Firoz focuses on faces and expressions. But doesn’t it take a lot of patience to get that particular expression or moment you are looking for?

“It indeed does, but then the wait is rewarded once you have that moment. You have to keep coming back and it is not always instant. Like, I was in New York once and I saw a couple run and embrace each other. Incidentally, the background was perfect – there was a bar, there were people walking on the pavement and there were balloons. I clicked them and titled the image ‘High on Life’, as it is vibrant and characteristically New York.” The exhibition is on until February 13 at the Convention Foyer, India Habitat Center.

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