“It’s interesting how I got into photography. I have chronophobia, which is an acute fear of the passage of time. So I felt the need to archive my own life from a very young age. My mother gave me a small film camera, and that’s how I got into it,” says Soumya Sankar Bose, on the night of the HELLO! India Art Awards. Speaking to us after accepting his award for ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’, his self-assured nature and belief in telling his own story to achieve the maximum artistic impact shines through in this engaging conversation.
HELLO!: Congratulations on winning ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’! How do you feel?
Soumya Sankar Bose: “I feel great! It’s a worthy recognition of my work over the past 10 years, but more importantly, it encourages the kind of work I do and the community I work with. It allows me to continue to tell the story of this community, which is great for my future work, too.”
H!: Your practice often captures sensitive yet important politically charged concepts. How does your chosen medium of photography help spread your message?
SSB: “Photography gives me the power to reach people, and the camera helps me get close to the community to share their story. Many incidents that I attempt to capture took place years ago, so video and photography allow me to package the story differently. Video helps me document the survivors’ memories, whereas photos help recreate those memories. But the final result is my perspective of those memories. Ultimately, the role of photography is to help with the development of an image of past events. I also feel comfortable in this field as I can use archival material for visuals, including old photos and documents.”
H!: You have a number of impactful projects under your belt, including your last one at Experimenter gallery in Colaba, Mumbai. What can we expect from you next?
SSB: “My ongoing project started in 2020 and is very close to my heart. In 1969, my mother went missing for three years, and she returned in 1972. In that time period, my grandfather searched for her, but he died in 1971. This exhibition at Experimenter was from his and my family’s perspective from the time my mother was missing. I’m now working on the second chapter of this tale. It will be told from her perspective.”
H!: Your advice to young photographers aspiring to pursue this medium professionally:
SSB: “I believe it’s important to find one’s own way to tell a story, without simply following others. Take inspiration from things or events in your life and develop a story from there. Artist Louise Bourgeois once said, ‘Tell your own story and you will be interesting.’ I always follow this advice and share this quote with upcoming artists and photographers.”
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the March 2023 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!