Photographer Dhruv Malhotra talks about his After Dark Trilogy

Following exhibitions in Delhi and various international galleries, the show now comes to Bengaluru
Dhruv Malhotra's After Dark Trilogy
Dhruv Malhotra's After Dark Trilogy

Visual artist Dhruv Malhotra lived in Noida for three years in the late 2000s.  The bleak spaces that he came across in the city inspired his photography series — After Dark Trilogy. “Noida has been subjected to haphazard development for more than a few decades. I was drawn to desolate spaces lying on the edges of urbanity, inhabiting a borderland of sorts. Null spaces that are almost invisible,” says the photographer. The trilogy comprises three series — Noida Soliloquy, Sleepers and After Party. Following exhibitions in Delhi and various international galleries, the show now comes to Bengaluru. 

The photographs capture spaces such as parks, playgrounds, the aftermath of a wedding function or a festival, and people sleeping out in the open. “Sometimes, I chanced upon sites that had transformed to host temporary events and it was this chameleon aspect that appealed to me,” he adds. The dark, contrasting colours in the photographs bring to the fore the other-worldliness of these spaces and how the dark metamorphoses the everyday.

For the photographs, Dhruv used an analogue medium format camera with 6 x 7 cm colour negative film. Rather than photographing the night as a mysterious world, he preferred to make visible what is ordinarily dark and hidden. This also meant, technically, the exposure times used to run into hours, the average being one hour and the longest being four hours. 

In terms of themes, there were many things playing on the artist’s mind. “I was thinking about the city and space, our lived experiences and our relationship with it. Another thing I focussed on was the concept of the public and the private and the temporality of space. I looked out for moments of synchronicity, where something — a shape or an object or shadow — can sometime suggest anthropomorphic connotations, like finding the self or the human mirrored in the world,” he expounds. Currently, the artist is working on multiple projects and also making the trilogy into a book, which he says is a monumental task in itself. 

Till October 19. At Galleryske, Langford Town

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