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Street from the heart

Published : Oct 22, 2016, 11:21 pm IST
Updated : Oct 22, 2016, 11:21 pm IST

Hailing from Purulia, a small village in West Bengal, Vicky Roy’s journey is an awe-inspiring story of grit and positivity.


Hailing from Purulia, a small village in West Bengal, Vicky Roy’s journey is an awe-inspiring story of grit and positivity. “In 1999, as an 11-year-old kid I ran away from my home due to extremely poor living conditions. I started working as a ragpicker at the New Delhi Railway Station, before I was rehabilitated by the Salaam Baalak Trust, Delhi. I wasn’t a very bright student and scored barely 48 per cent in my 10th standard,” shares Vicky, whose life changed after meeting Dixie Benjamin, a British filmmaker.

Photography happened to him by chance, when Vicky started assisting Benjamin for assignments. “Benjamin couldn’t converse in Hindi, and I couldn’t understand English, but I still managed to pick up most of what Benjamin taught about basic concepts of photography like light adjustment, focus, aperture, etc.”

And Vicky knew he had found his calling when he met Anay Maan, the well-known portrait photographer. “He allowed me to assist him, but on the condition that I worked with him for a minimum of three years. I found a great mentor in him, and that’s when I learnt the most of the basics of photography. The assignments took me to different places and I covered interesting stories.”

During the course of his assignments, Vicky mostly shot street children in their natural settings. “This is when I did a solo exhibition titled ‘Street Dreams’ sponsored by British Commission. It received a great reception and travelled to London, South Africa and since then there was no looking back,” he says,

Taking about his most cherished series of work, Vicky says, “My whole series of photographs titled ‘Home. Street. Home’ is inspired from my own life. It tries to capture various moods and expressions of street kids. Since I have lived on the streets and then at the shelter, I am familiar with the kind of hardships they face. I can totally relate to their lives. Hence, shooting them was never challenging as these children are never shy and love to get clicked.”

Clicking photos at weddings or capturing various shades of street life — Vicky likes documenting stories of different kinds. He even has a book to his credit titled Home Street Home that showcases the best of this works — from portraits of his fellow travellers to a mirror of his own life.

“Every generation produces some great photographers. I want to be counted as a good photographer of our times, and produce some great collections of work with archival value,” says Vicky.