An Ode to Publishing
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A man makes a note on a dog-eared notepad pasted on a run-down wall, where stainless steel tumblers are arranged neatly on a shelf. A cut-out of a cartoon monk pasted a long time ago, peeks from under a jumble of wires. The photograph that oozes this old-world neglect is clicked by self-taught photographer, Ananth Padmanabhan, and is a part of his first ever solo exhibition, titled "Calcutta – Walking in the City". "There is so much more to a city than its streets, monuments and markets," says Padmanabhan. "When I click pictures, I like to look for oddities and noneities. They always have an unusual story to tell," says the 37-year-old, who has been working with the publishing industry for 20 years.
The exhibition boasts around 30 black-and-white photographs shot inside a printing press in Kolkata. Padmanabhan explains his choice. "The press is called Swapna Printing Works Pvt Ltd. I had visited the place in 1998, when I was discovering Kolkata. I especially wanted to see it, because this is where first books by international publishers coming to India were published. In a way, the printing press, and, indeed Kolkata, played a huge role in the publishing industry of modern India. This is a personal journey and a tribute as a photographer, to the years I've spent in publishing," he says. He revisited the place earlier this year and took the photographs in a day.
"Calcutta – Walking in the City" will be held at Experimental Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, from November 1 to 10.
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