This suite of photographs explores the uncanny, a concept that was conceived by Sigmund Freud to define the feeling of defamiliarisation, incomprehensible dread and unhomeliness in a familiar environment or an intimate domestic space. The uncanny is simultaneously revelatory of our primal, covert desires and fears. The settings of the photographs are familiar, yet eerie.

What we witness is the act of internal alteration of real spaces, objects and people, through which the “real” transforms into mental and psychic images. The deliberately blurred and high contrast images transcend the indexicality of photographs to give a subjective view of the space and things, in which reality is dissolved. What binds this disparate set of images taken across several places is their unifying spectral weather. The meaning is in the undercurrent that these images produce beneath the skin. The series borrows from the tropes of gothic and psychological thriller genre in which the photographer seems to be a relentless investigator searching in the mysterious, subterranean space of the city with its dissembling paths and inscrutable dead-ends. The world depicted is uncertain and masked, with hidden clues. The lichen stain, the floating matchsticks, the bold red crochet doily, the defaced owl statue and the hovering birds in the sky like dark shadows are all portents of an impending mishap. The narrative is fraught with suspense, tension and anticipation but its ending is unresolved and elusive.


Text by Shweta Upadhyay


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