Intimacy

Fragments of the Dying Man

© DEBMALYA CHOUDHURI
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Fragments of the Dying Man

Most often I am in the darkness of my own desire. – New Delhi, June 2015

Fragments of the Dying Man is a personal journey of fragility, loss and desire. A diary of someone precariously juggling life and death, desiring to live and also having the fear of reaching the end. The suicide of a lover and personal sickness set the stage for this.

There is nothing new I have to offer. We all feel the same, The same feeling, Of love, of its destruction. Philadelphia, US, March 2018

The act of photography is the pretext to get closer. To reconcile. To continue living in the act of having a dual life: one in a vulnerable position of solitude and the other, in the personal spaces of strangers, away from a distant past, a distant home. Some stay. Some fade away.

It oscillates between Isolation and Intimacy. Light and Dark. Day and Night. What’s in control and what’s not. The lines are blurred.

My spaces are fragile, Time is going to wear them away, To destroy them… Albany, New York. Dec 2017

The images are soiled, weary, damaged and fragile just like life.

A journey on one end of which is existing in a cabin in the American wilderness, vast yet confined with so little happening, looking outside for love and sometimes inside, often photographed by strangers. Who is looking at whom? All merge into one another. A faint reminder of a tragic past that haunts again and again. A past filled with anger and despair.

This is not one journey A journey of many. Who live in between acceptance and anonymity The photograph becomes our identity. Bronx, New York, July 2018

The other end is my encounters with strangers with whom I share spaces in all the while of moving around. Those that let me a shelter, those like me. Encounters and spaces. Confined, intimate and visceral. Much like me, everyone I desire through an image lives a life of ambiguity. Some are erotic performers, some are those who survive by selling their sex, some work odd jobs, only to survive in a fast-changing capitalist society that is slowly consuming us all. For me, the identity is not based on what the person does to exist in a world where power dictates social norms and moral codes. Different worlds struggling to exist, finding a way out only through the camera, without the fear of being judged. Some have been abused, some bullied, some in a deep sense of anguish, exploding through the feeling of desire and being desired. Some alive, some not anymore. Photographing leads people to share their most intimate experiences and some break down in the process.

Textual passages, archival conversations, rephotographed images, screenshots, repetitions and other fragile traces of the medium become a way to connect us all in a journey that is amorphous, ever escaping, loosely held together in this diary. Repeating motifs, gestures, expressions hold on to each other.

Through this, I try to live up to my own questioning of desire and the inarticulate form that is called love. In between proximity and promiscuity…

I seek the other and in this constant pursuit of desire, pleasure, fear, doomed to fail, I find my own reconciliation.

Who is looking? Who is the one looked at? How do we know for real? Rochester, New York, December 2018

This is not about a single message, rather an assemblage, like broken shards of glass, inviting the reader to question not only desire, love and the lack of it, but also to ask how are we looking at each other in a post-capitalist world which is pulling us apart, born out of this necessity and anguish to reproduce images.  I am only a character with the others in this game we call life.

I too have similar dreams It has to do with fear Rochester, New York January 2018

“I don’t know you. No one can know you. Or put themselves in your place- you haven’t got a place, And you don’t know where to find one- C Brooklyn, New York. February 2019.

Without knowing it, he suffers, From a mental darkness That keeps him from scream He himself is the girl who forgets his presence. Cabin in Buffalo, New York. February 2019.

Take Care, Good Night Ridgewood, New York. July 2018.

If only life could be in one state throughout, we all would have chosen happy But then what is it to be happy? Upstate New York. February 2019.

 

Debmalya Choudhuri
Debmalya is a visual storyteller who likes weaving tales through imagery. He believes that photography is a powerful medium of change in the coming century and can shape and reshape opinions and ideas. Photography is not just about one moment, it is also about the aftermath and the past of the moment. Working as a social entrepreneur and photojournalist has enabled him to think deeply about societal concerns and he wants to portray his viewpoint through use of his imagery.

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