Bonjour Chandigarh! Photo-journey into 'dream city'
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Over 60 years after architect Le Corbusier gave shape to Chandigarh, a French photographer is delving into the heart of the city to map its human element.
India's first planned city is captured through the lens of Manuel Bougot, who spent over two years in Chandigarh in "quest of its soul," and the resulting photographs form part of an exhibition "Chandigarh: Portrait of a City," that opened here recently.
"My first point of view was to show the link between the European and Indian cultures but then my interest in the city grew much deeper, to which I returned to several times since January 2009 when I had first encountered the city," says Bougot who is visiting India.
The photographer says his love for the architectural city was ignited way back in the 1980s and grew deeper after he began exploring.
"I was introduced to Corbusier first when I worked on Caroline Maniaque's thesis on architecture on the 'Maisons Jaoul' houses, the celebrated pair of houses in the upmarket Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, designed by Le Corbusier
and built in 1954-56," says the French photographer.
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier, a Swiss-born French architect was invited by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949 to design a radically new city for India, a city that embodied the spirit of the modern, self-reliant India, free from the shackles of any colonial baggage, including the architectural one.
Together with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and a team of architects, Le Corbusier designed and imagined a living ethos of whose life and culture he was completely unaware.
"Manuel Bougot's work also in a way attempts to understand how well the people of Chandigarh, over the years have adapted themselves to a Frenchman's dream" says Devika Daulat-Singh, director of PhotoInk gallery here.
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