An exhibition of photographs celebrate weathered faces

Wrinkled and withered, each of the lined visages on display has many stories in them. Twenty-three portraits in colour and black and white sketch an eloquent picture of ageing in India.

Organised by Alliance Française de Trivandrum in association with the Embassy of France, the exhibition showcases photos clicked by Kathick Ramalingam, a freelance photographer based in Chennai, who specialises in portraits.

Karthick's respect and affection for his subjects was clear in the pictures that were accompanied by captions (and an explanatory note) revolving around a single adjective such as introspection, contemplation, fear, blindness, knowledge and so on.

For instance ‘Beauty' focussed on an elderly woman's face that was devoid of any kind of ornamentation or make-up.

‘Regret' had a bespectacled face that seemed to be lost in thought (regret not for actions done but for roads not explored…, said the cheeky caption). Chipped teeth, scanty hair, plenty of grey and weathered expressions did not deviate from the innate grace and dignity of the faces.

Karthick, who hails from Thanjavur, has used his skill to capture raw and unsophisticated expressions that resonate with resilience and fortitude. Fleeting emotions have been frozen to etch portraits that brim with life.

Subtle tales

Karthick's eye for detail picks out the tale of neglect, poverty and courage that some of the pictures hint at. Amidst pictures of anorexic models and six-pack hunks, these faces throw light on a side of India that is not often seen today.

The exhibition concludes on June 19.

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