Aparna Jayakumar is a young Indian photographer based in Mumbai. She shares with us her experiences of the first edition festival and the work that will be showcased in the upcoming edition.
I was at the 2011 edition of the Delhi Photo Festival and I thought it was seamlessly organized. It was so professional; nobody could tell that it was a team of first-timers! It was well curated, well designed, with a phenomenal lineup of events and talks. In fact I thought DPF 2011 was revolutionary for the photo scene in India. It really started something. I even wrote an article about this for New York’s LPV magazine. And on returning to Bombay, inspired, I started the Bombay Photo Club.
My project at DPF 2013 ‘Goodbye Padmini’ showcases Mumbai’s ubiquitous black and yellow taxi as an icon of the city. Mumbai’s taxis turned 100 in 2011. Motorised cabs replaced the horse-driven Victoria buggies in 1911 and have been serving the city ever since, but instead of celebrating, Mumbai’s taxi drivers have much to worry about. The black and yellow taxi is the primary source of living for thousands of immigrants from different parts of the country who come to Mumbai in search of a better life. The Padmini taxi has been an important part of my life in Bombay, and its disappearing from the streets is a sign of the larger change that the city is undergoing, not only in its physical character but also in its philosophy. I am archiving the last of Bombay’s Padminis as an ode to a city I have loved that is fading into oblivion. The charm of the Padmini taxi is unique, with its disco-lights, over the top interiors and taxi art, flowers, incense sticks, colourful seat covers, and icons of various Gods, or Bollywood stars (or both side by side). There is much old-world romance associated with these sleek black and yellow wheels. They are an inextricable part of the Mumbai experience.
I’m delighted to be showing at the Delhi Photo Festival again!