Posted On Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 06:54:02 PM
David de Souza mourns the passing of a genteel Mumbai, a place where one didn’t have to wait for too long for something to happen, where the “streets rarely disappointed”, a city where a photographer didn’t need permission to shoot its streets. This photograph is a testimony to that Mumbai, he says.
“I think this picture was taken sometime between 1977 and 1980. The woman reflected in the mirror is my friend Laxmi Tendulkar,” recalls de Souza. “I was helping her do some wedding shopping. We were walking outside Mahesh Lunch Home at Fort.” Suddenly, says de Souza, he spotted a man carrying a mirror.
He thrust the plastic bags that he was carrying to Laxmi, and started photographing the man. “I carry my camera with me all the time. But this was a spur of the moment decision.
“I took three frames. The beauty of this photo lies in (how it captures) a moment when chaos becomes manageable and beautiful at the same time. This frame is a good example of where chaos ‘works’.
The picture’s complexity lies in how the reflection and the real seem to merge. Laxmi’s upper body and the man’s (the mirror-carrier) lower body seem to form a whole.”
Apart from juxtaposing of real and reflected, de Souza draws our attention to other aspects of the photograph. “If you observe closely, the space below the man standing next to Laxmi in the reflection gives the illusion of a checkpatterned lungi. “Even the parked Ambassador and the reflection of the taxi compliment each other.”
But it is ‘decapitated’ mirror-carrier — without which the photograph would never have happened — who is most interesting to de Souza. “The mirrorcarrier, according to me, illustrates the image of a kind of crucifixion,” he says.
“I am obsessed with the iconography of the crucifix. I call it the ‘cruci-fixation’,” quips de Souza, who used a Minolta SRT101 camera and ORWO film to capture this image. He also processed
• The beauty of this snap lies in a moment when chaos becomes manageable and beautiful at the same time