The coast by Sohrab Hura
Signed copies only
Magnum photographer Sohrab Hura’s new book The Coast is the latest iteration of his long-term project The Lost Head and the Bird, which explores the undercurrents of violence – religious, sexual, and caste related – in contemporary India through photos taken along the country’s coastline.
The Coast opens with an absurd short story that leads into a sequence of images taken along the Indian coastline. While the photographs are made in real situations, the continuous removal and addition of context manipulates the line between what is fact and what is not, in a way not unlike how new realities are increasingly being engineered today.
The short story repeats itself throughout the book in 12 different iterations; each version different from the preceding story in only a few words. From the 1st to the 12th iteration, these changes create a shift in empathy. For example, in its original format the story has the obsessive lover, the fortune-teller and the idiot photographer (me) all partaking in the violence in the main character Madhu’s life, however by the 12thiteration all these characters have been absolved of their roles in any wrong doing and in fact the blame for Madhu’s circumstances have been subtly shifted back on to her. Finally, it is she who is responsible for her own miseries.
In the work as a whole I’m not so interested in the fact or fiction of things, I mean I’m playing with that line for sure and they do determine the starting points of different realities but I’m more interested in the workings of the larger system where meaning is assigned or taken away by making the smallest of changes in context. S.H