Visual Vignettes From New York And Mumbai | Verve Magazine
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September 09, 2019

Visual Vignettes From New York And Mumbai

Textile designer Sneha Krishnan and photographer Bjorn Wallander use their camera lenses as portals to those moments that transcend place and time. Walking alone through New York and Mumbai respectively, they frame spontaneous vignettes of the two cities which visually evoke each other’s auras. The images convey both their sense of piercing loneliness and nostalgia and their reality that life, no matter what, will go on…

Sneha Krishnan
New York City

You leave all that is familiar to chase a dream, the memory of which fades with every passing day. And then, you realise where you are and dream a new dream.

If only you could find silence in your head, there’s no way you will find it anywhere else in this city.

Passing conversations on crowded trains and street corners; the lights that catch your eye through the undrawn curtains across your window; your neighbour’s footsteps through the walls. You constantly share your life. And even though you may feel alone, you never truly are.

And suddenly, when you’re walking down the street with your shadow, you catch a whiff of home and stand there for a while.

There is something about looking out into water that makes us contemplative. As though looking directly into a mirror, with no hint of fear in your eyes, no disillusion. Only clarity, acceptance and hope for the next day.

With all the movement around you, the intensity of the stillness within you grows like a wild garden.

Sneha Krishnan graduated from NIFT, Delhi and is currently studying Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art’s summer programme in New York. As a photographer, if a scene moves her, she usually captures it on the spot with her iPhone.

Bjorn Wallander

I captured this image of a taxi driver waiting for a green light a few years back — I think this is between Kala Ghoda and Colaba. We had talked a bit before, and I remember that he was a really nice guy. When we got to this red light, he looked out and went into a kind of day dream. I knew I had to sneak a picture.

I love gazing at the facades of buildings and looking out from car windows. But I took this in the fabric district in Mumbai when I was on foot. While I have hundreds of images of facades, this is one of my favourites.

The man was about to load his bicycle with the newspapers sorted for his deliveries early one morning. It’s an incredible machine to be able to see.

This is a photograph taken on Republic Day this year. I had done a two week Ayurvedic detox in the South earlier and, back in Mumbai, I was trying to find this one medicine to take back to the US. I was leaving the next day, and the pharmacist called other pharmacies he knew to see if they were open and had it. This was a friendliness that I saw so often in India, more than anywhere else, I would say. And I love the way he had everything so organised on the shelves.

This was taken under a flyover on a very hot day in March a few years ago, on my way back to Colaba after shopping at Chor Bazaar. I remember being so beat and sweaty, but then I saw this beautiful building. I was lucky to get a picture of it while in the backseat of my cab.

This was outside the Gateway of India, in the morning. The previous night, I had caught up with my friend Suleiman at Woodside Inn. We met a friend of his who likes to sail and is a member of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. So very late that night, after some beers, we booked a boat and went sailing the next morning on just a few hours of sleep. It’s such a great memory!

Even today, I can still remember how slow and peaceful it was when I look at this photo. It’s another photo from Republic Day this year, somewhere around Kalbadevi Road. Since it was a holiday, it was super quiet – and that is quite unusual in Mumbai. This man came cruising by on his bicycle right in front of this beautiful gate.

Though Swedish-born Bjorn Wallander began his studies in engineering, he quickly realised that photography was his true passion. He started his career as a photographer in Norway and eventually moved to New York, where he worked with photographers Knut Bry, Brigitte Lacombe, Albert Watson and Frederik Lieberath and where he currently resides. While an assistant, Wallander was always working on his own projects, and developing his own style in the areas of portraiture.

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