Playing with light in the darkness

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By Ananya Dutta
The Hindu
Kolkata, November 15, 2011

No kidding: A visitor admires photographs taken by two amateur photographers from under-privileged backgrounds in Kolkata on Monday. - Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

Twenty-one-year-old Shankar Sarkar is both perturbed and fascinated by the surroundings he grew up in ? a red light area in the city. Shankar’s discomfort resulted in him dropping out of school but his enchantment led him to click a series of photographs of his mother, eventually enabling him to find a niche for himself in professional photography.
On the occasion of Children’s Day, a three-day exhibition of photographs taken by two children from the margins was inaugurated here on Monday.
?From the first time that I held a camera in my hand (a compact Yashica film camera that had to be shared by six boys from the slum), I have been taking pictures of my mother ? scenes from her daily life,? says Shankar, adding that in this manner he has been ?documenting? her life over the last ten years.
He says he would love to take pictures of others in the neighbourhood ? he has known them for years. But when he steps out with his camera, ?it invariably leads to a fight?. Sometimes he visits other red light areas in the city, for instance Sonagachi.
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