I wrote down people’s names and lockdown day, I listened to their Indian life stories. From March 2020, I documented how each of them found their unique ways of existing, of surviving the uncertain, of fighting the restrictions, limits and boredom, along with their inner transformation. Renamed Lockdown Project, this black and white analogue photographic project, became an intimate documentary of the people around me, those I know personally, those I am acquainted with, or strangers I’ve approached.
Because I had just two rolls of black and white negative film, I featured each of them in only two frames. While in full lockdown, I wasn’t certain how lucky I’d be to purchase new ones.
Meanwhile, I experienced the very first monsoon in my life, during which my analog camera failed to work properly. I later had an opportunity to develop my rolls in a Mumbai laboratory, only to find out that many photos got lost forever, and many were scratched or overlapped. Somehow those unforeseen circumstances created the unique effects that have been writing this story along with me, merging nature, technology and soul together.
And now I am presenting the photographs of various people, frequently taken in moments of vulnerability. I recorded the men from Nepal, who got stuck in Goa, with no financial resources to return to their homes. They kept baking bread and selling it from behind half-closed doors.
I photographed a person with kidney stones I met on the way, while helping him reach the hospital on top of a hill, at sunrise, in full lockdown. That is where I used to escape each morning, embracing nature to charge my mental batteries.
I met a person in the jungle, who stayed there for two months, completely alone, leaving his tent only to fetch food and water.
Today, as the lockdown eased, these portraits express more freedom and reflect personal happiness or nostalgia.
I'm taking down these notes on the 667th day since the lockdown began in March 2019. I’m currently in Arambol, North Goa, counting 894 days since my arrival in India. I keep taking pictures for my project with curiosity, undecided when to end.
Tutor in the Fashion Styling and Fashion Design programs, Mumbai