the-south-asian Life & Times                       Oct - Dec 2010




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 Early History



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 South Asia's Oldest Bazar

 Kashmiri Gate

 Lutyens's Delhi Turns 80

 The Super 4 of 2010


 Arjun Atwal

 Bopanna & Qureshi

 Photo Feature
 Kulwant Roy's
 Priceless Legacy


 Revving up India's

 Arunachal Pradesh

 Sport is a Sport







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Kulwant Roy’s Priceless Legacy

– the power of the still image


"There’s no standard way of approaching a story. We have to evoke a situation, a truth. This is the poetry of life’s reality." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photojournalism emerged as a distinctive form of spontaneous and topical photography in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a way of trying to understand people, social and political situations, and summarising them through a clicked moment – the decisive or the shutter moment. The introduction of small, hand-held cameras such as the Leica, facilitated and enabled the early photographers to record fast-moving events and capture their subjects in unguarded moments.The best images in this genre have provided both informative content and emotional impact; their journalistic value has often been of greater importance than aesthetic quality. The picture or photo-story was like a cinema narrative - a print documentary – thoughtful, and at times a visionary account of world events - in black and white.

Many of the still images are enduring and have remained with us in our vocabulary, even in an age when the moving image seems so dominant and omnipresent. Photojournalists were credited with showing the true nature of warfare and the suffering of the innocents in war and political unrest. David Seymour traced the impact of war and its aftermath on vulnerable individuals. Ernest Cole’s photographs of segregated South Africa showed the resilience and resistance of people in the face of social injustice. tury.

As iconic as the India photos taken by Bourke-White and Cartier-Bresson, are some of the photographs taken in mid-20th century India by Kulwant Roy – a little known photographer working in Delhi. His clear and simple pictures chronicled India before and after its independence from Britain. Politics was not a spectacle at the time, and politicians did not style themselves for the camera. Roy’s body of work was vast. His photograph of Mahatma Gandhi alighting from a Third Class railway carriage is a masterpiece and so is his image of Gandhi Ji trying to reason with Jinnah – frustration writ large on his face.

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