Another Sombre Christmas, photo essay by Debmalya Ray Choudhuri
Wise up, Sorrow. Calm down.
You always lay claim to twilight. Well, here it is, brother,
It descends. Obscurity settles over the town,
bringing peace to one, worry to another.
Winter. What does it make you feel? Melancholic? Cold ? Stolid ? As winter sets in, the town is shrouded in an uncanny obscurity of fog, a nip in the air, lesser people n the streets at night, blankets, sweaters and of course the New Year and Christmas.
Another Sombre Christmas is a short personal narrative of one such winter spent in my hometown after a span of two years. Although the physicality of places remained the same, relationships had changed and so had a life. This Christmas I felt more liberated, mature, wiser and certainly older. The grey strands of hair are yet to set in.
Maybe some more winters from now before the signs become evident. This poignant and minimal series of surreal imagery talks about the pain of separation and also isolation and seclusion as being a panacea often in the world of chaos. My Christmas is not only about being merry, singing carols and dancing to the reverie. What I want to talk about in Another Sombre Christmas is a feeling of being inside oneself and outside at the same time. A photograph is not merely about what subject lies in front of me. I was trying to make photographs in which their meanings were caught between reflecting on the nature of photography itself and being depictions of the world at the same time. The viewer would oscillate between being aware of the photograph’s presence or its materiality and its nature of being a representation. Then, in other photographs, one would be engaging the subject in a direct and visceral way.
Another Sombre Christmas addresses this ambiguity of an image and also of the mind when one is taking a photograph. All the photos have been taken in the last week of December and have been created on mobile phones, digital cameras and films.
The camera has always been an interface between me and the world surrounding us. It cannot confine the possibilities of expression. Another Sombre Christmas talks about my solitude in the winter solstice, my observations of life around me in its rawest moments and abstract forms.
This is a multimedia work which I am currently doing with video installation and music and abstract images.