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July 19, 2017

Discovering The Passionate Lensman In Ronny Sen

Text by Huzan Tata

“Intense living can only be reflected through art”

He grew up in the ’90s in Salt Lake, Kolkata without much care for the outside world and its happenings, but a craving for adventure and freedom. Soon, Ronny Sen got hooked to photography, and he hasn’t looked back since. “Art helps me turn feelings and emotions into something I can share and offer to the world. It teaches me how to be free and humble, and at same time respond to the call of the real in both responsible and mystical ways,” he says.

Today a growing name in the field, Ronny made a mark with his series Don’t Breathe, where he captured the happenings in unreserved compartments of Indian trains. He went on to win several awards and grants; by the United Nations, Sony World Photography Awards and, most recently, the 10,000-dollar Getty Images Instagram Grant for his work on the coal town of Jharia in Jharkhand. Passionate about politics, the photographer considers sculptor Ramkinkar Baij and film-maker Ritwik Ghatak as his inspirations, “not only for the sheer genius of their work, but also for who they were and how they managed to give life to their work outside the possible avenues of their time”.

When asked about his style, the Silchar-born lensman says, “I am pretty old-school and invested in pure aesthetics as much as I want my work to speak about the politics I believe in. I choose a certain visual vocabulary because of the inherent politics that it brings to the work.” His poignant series New World Chronicles Of An Old World Colour, that was on display at Tarq in Mumbai last year, showcases life in Poland and is inspired by Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy. “Growing up in Kolkata, we also shared the common burden of a communist past. I always had a romantic idea about the Soviet-bloc countries. In the melancholic Polish winter, I was looking for the traces of red where solidarity had once emerged and how capitalism had finally taken over today,” explains the 30-year-old about the series.

With a new interest in cinema, the artist is making his first feature film, Cat Sticks, while also biking along the country’s coastline for his next photo project. Summing up his love for his choice of career he says, “Intense living can only be reflected through art.”

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