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A return to roots

Published : Aug 20, 2016, 10:10 pm IST
Updated : Aug 20, 2016, 10:10 pm IST

Home is where the story begins, and for self-taught photographer Chetan Kumar returning back to his roots in Bihar marked a new beginning of his professional career.

Rag picker who caught the eye of the photographer
 Rag picker who caught the eye of the photographer

Home is where the story begins, and for self-taught photographer Chetan Kumar returning back to his roots in Bihar marked a new beginning of his professional career. “After finishing my graduation from Bengaluru in 2005, rather than going to a cosmopolitan city to pursue my career, I went back to my hometown (a village called Maner near Patna) in Bihar to shoot short films and documentaries. While I was making shorts, I was travelling through the countryside, and I realised there was so much to be captured and told. I was opening up to new landscapes, people and my culture. In 2010, when full-frame digital cameras became more affordable, I picked up a professional camera and set out for my new journey into photography,” shares the award-winning photographer Chetan Kumar.

The photographer just took a leap of faith and ventured into photography. “Back then, there was no Internet or social media to share your work with the rest of the world. I just knew back in my head that nobody had come to Bihar to document its vast landscape, people and its culture, and it pushed me to take photography seriously. During the course of shooting, first came the honeymoon part — beautiful landscapes of Bihar and the neighbouring villages, glorious past and heritage, vibrant festivals, simplicity and quietude of village life, and gradually, I realised there was a darker side too — life as it was actually in the villages, without any pretense. Initially, villagers were very apprehensive about getting shot, as camera was an alien thing for them till I convinced them saying, ‘Mai patrakaar nahi, chitrakaar hoon. (I am not a media professional, but a photographer who likes to click pictures of whatever he sees),” says the photographer whose fine art photographic works have been collected by Rajgir Heritage Museum in Bihar.

Black and white medium is to tell a special story while coloured medium presents the life in its truest form, believes Chetan. He adds, “Colours have emotions, stories to tell, and each colour has different meanings and connotations in varied cultures. I can’t subtract colours from my subjects, especially in a country like India where there are so many colours and shades to life.”