Sebastian Cortés reveals the hidden Pondicherry, with all its complexities, in an upcoming exhibition

For all those who have been to Puducherry (Pondicherry) at some point in their lives, whether they have passed through it, lived there for a while, have gone sightseeing or are simply fascinated by the old Colonial stronghold, a visit to Tasveer’s latest exhibition “Sebastian Cortés: Pondicherry” might literally open some new doors.

That’s partly what the photographer, Sebastian Cortés, intends to do through the exhibition. It showcases a collection of photographs of the relatively “unknown” Pondicherry, delving into its inner sanctums of homes and spaces.

“The images are an overview of my interpretation of a city I have come to love capturing. They take the viewer into a journey behind the walls of the city,” says Sebastian. What he finds so charming about the city, which has been his residence for years now, is its complex history, which has resulted in an almost effortless coexistence and amalgamation of cultures.

“It is an old Colonial town coupled with an ageless Tamil presence and the nearness of Auroville. It is an Indian and a non-Indian place at the same time with the presence of other faiths like Islam. I felt this and I wanted to describe it in my images,” he explains.

The exhibition also coincides with the launch of his book Pondicherry, published by Roli. The book features essays by the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner, writer Akash Kapur, and Amin Jaffer.

Sebastian Cortés began dabbling in photography as a student at the New York University film school. Five years later, in 1985, he moved to Italy and began working with fashion, lifestyle and commercial photography before moving to India in 2004. He has worked with organisations like American Express, Departures, Ermenegildo Zegna, Escada and the Oberoi Group.

Pondicherry will be launched on November 9 in Bangalore. The exhibition will be on view from November 10 till November 30 at Cinnamon, 11, Walton Road, off Lavelle Road. For details, contact 022-22048138.