PHOTOINK is pleased to present Pablo Bartholomew’s photographs made in his late teens into his twenties. These black & white photographs exhumed from an archive of 30000+ negatives, previously presented in three separate exhibitions, combine to address a visible gap in Indian photography of the 1970s and 1980s, more specifically, outside the realm of assignment work. Outside In: A Tale of 3 Cities…the 70s & 80s is presented as a photo novel where the autobiographical and the documentary intersect to pay homage to three cities the young Bartholomew lived and travelled through — Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta.
Outside In: A Tale of 3 Cities comprises my inner world of friends and family across Delhi, Bombay, and Calcutta. Spanning the 1970s and 1980s, it also extends a gaze on the outer world; my associations with the cities and their people, known and unknown.
The need to discover within me, without the baggage or claustrophobic trappings of my teens, I escaped bureaucratic Delhi. Leaving behind my troubled teenage life, I found acceptance in Bombay not for who my parents were or whose child I was, but for my talents and skills and what use they could be to others. This propelled me to find myself both economically and creatively in my work and life.
Intrinsic to my growing up, Bombay offered me and thousands of others like me who arrived before the opportunity to be cradled and mentored professionally. It gave friendship, food, shelter, and the chance to be discovered and become someone. At the same time, Calcutta connected me to my cultural self, of extended family ties and bonds and filling a void, a gap of history about the origins of my maternal side.
Often I’d wander aimlessly through the streets hoping to discover their many parts, bit by bit, day by day, month by month, always amazed by the infinite visual joy in the discovery of these cities.