A Most Serious Beauty -Indian Photographer Bikramjit Bose

 

smoking women series  by Bikramjit BoseFrom Bikramjit Bose’s Series Women Smoking

 

My approach to photography is essentially that of a portrait photographer

 

Award winning artist Bikramjit Bose is an Indian photographer whose oeuvre includes startlingly beautiful editorial work showcased in major publications including Rolling Stone, GQ India, Vogue, IndiaMarie Claire India, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar India.

 

And they all sat down by Bikramjit Bose

From the series, And they all sat down

 

 

Shekhar Kapur for GQ India

Shekhar Kapur, GQ India

 

 

Of his many projects, the March 2016 issue of Harpers Bazaar India, Spring Rebellion is  is in fact, the artist’s favorite so far. Bose wanted to create “a picture of the constant protests and revolts – almost a sense of rebellion, that’s been going on in India. The people have been taking a stand, really voicing their opinions and anger against the government.” In this series, he has situated the story in a mythic way, telling the story of this contemporary zeitgeist within a world of beauty and drama. The artificial bruising and grimy skin of the models is troubling, I for one want to pull away from the gratuitous display of violence against women in art and fashion, however compelling, there is a moral nudge in Bose’s work. I think to myself, what of the Rape of the Sabines and such? Nevertheless, Bose is able to allow us to see not only a story, but the absolute crisis of Indian women, who are often pulled into the undertow of civil unrest and most sadly, victims of brutality. Other editorial series such as Girls show women quite differently, an elite cast of characters, in advanced age, posing with a sense of eclectic glamour, not to mention the powerful portrait of author Jhumpa Lahiri.

 

Bikram Bose Portrait of Jhumpa Lahiri, Vogue India

Jhumpa Lahiri, Vogue India

The contemporary experience of a diverse group is also at the core of Bose’s quieter series And they all sat down. These works confront the way cities are at once exciting and unwelcoming, and include photos of the artist’s friends in their Mumbai homes. Bose depicts people in intimate spaces, expressive of their character and personality, while evoking the loneliness and anonymity of city life and particular sort of transience.

 

Woman with Portrait And they all sat down by Bikramjit Bose

 

The artist explains: “Mumbai, much like New York, is a city where people relocate to from all over the place, for the purpose of work. They are usually either living by themselves or sharing the flat with a friend. My idea was to make portraits of people at home, in their space – where the space around them is an extension or a reflection of their personality and vice versa. Mumbai, despite all the people and inherent chaos, can also be a very lonely city.”

 

Man And they all sat down by Bikramjit Bose

And they all sat down

 

Girl And they all sat down by Bikramjit Bose

And they all sat down

 

old man And they all sat down by Bikramjit Bose

And they all sat down

 

 

And they all sat down.

 

He also has produced a number of deconstruction “behind the scenes” narratival series and of course, portraiture. Inspired by pictorial models in cinema, much of Bose’s work responds to deconstruction and the artifice of performance, the supposed perfection of theater, editorial fashion etc. Within this vein, he seeks a certain kind of intimacy within all his projects, whether unflinching portraits of friends and family in their homes, the backstage chaos of the circus, or the very ordinary moments of city life. That portraiture drives his work in every genre, is apparent immediately, the face is at the center, a sort of beautifully staged intervention and silent observation.



 

RB: What is it like to work in the fashion industry? It often strikes me that the “official” art world in NYC has more to do with fashion that one could ever believe. So much seems to be about superficiality and illusion. Considering this, tell me more about your series Don’t believe the hype.

 

 

Don’t believe the hype

 

I wanted to try to find something beautiful within all the chaos, the tension, the imperfection, and the flaws.

 

BB: The fashion industry, in India anyway, is a fairly niche space, in the sense that it caters only to a select audience. There is also a very big art scene in India, but the two don’t necessarily always overlap. I think they operate quite independently of each other. Yes, on the outside there is a lot of superficiality, illusion, pomp, and show. However, if you dig deeper and go beyond the surface, there is a lot of good work being done. Unfortunately, the outward appearance sometimes detracts from the work. That is what led me to working on the series – Don’t believe the hype. I’ve always been interested in the idea of deconstruction – of breaking something down to show the parts that lie within – to explore the ‘unglamorous’ side of things, if you will.

 

Portrait by Bikramjit Bose C'mon Charlie C'mon Charlie

C’mon Charlie C’mon

 

RB: And the photo essay C’mon Charlie C’mon about an Indian traveling circus?

BB: I lived and traveled with a circus troupe for 45 days, documenting the banality of their lives behind the bright lights of the circus. So, going behind the scenes during fashion week, was simply an extension of that idea. From a purely visual standpoint, I was drawn to the potential chaos that I could only imagine that ensued backstage.

 

Legs by Bikramjit Bose C'mon Charlie C'mon Charlie

C’mon Charlie C’mon

 

Man with Elephant by Bikramjit Bose C'mon Charlie C'mon Charlie

C’mon Charlie C’mon



 

Follow Bikramjit Bose on Instagram and learn more about his work here Artist Site


 

Please all images published on the blog are the property of the artist Bikramjit Bose and should not be used without written permission of the artist. 

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