The phrase Paris, La Métisse or Paris: Melting Pot sums up what you can expect from the ongoing photography exhibition. Photographers Florence Baltariere and Morgan Hail Jypsian travelled the length and breadth of France and discovered lesser known facets of the country, its people and practices. Their lenses have captured what you expect them to — hi-fashion, the famous Ritz hotel, the Louvre museum and the Eiffel Tower. But these images are far and few in between.
What sets their work apart is the attempt to show Paris as a truly cosmopolitan city, its acceptance of people from across the globe along with their language, culture and rituals. Florence and Morgan capture a Tibetan monk bent over, completing the colourful sands of the Tibetan Mandela; the spirit of the festival of Tibet in France; Korean women's dance for peace; a veiled woman from Qatar trying out mehndi; celebration of Chinese New Year; elderly Chinese men engaged in conversation and hip hop dancers near Notre Dame Cathedral. Punctuate these with images of children sketching or just living it up in the huge parks of Paris.
The Indian connection comes through frames of French citizens gazing up at posters of the Himalaya festival at Luxembourg Garden, sari-clad women celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi, dhoti-clad, bare-chested men breaking coconuts during the Ganesh procession and a portrait of a Sikh settler in Paris.
Photographs speak volumes when shot in black and white. The only dampener is that we get to see only grainy copies of the original prints. Paris, La Métisse, organised by Alliance Fracaise, is on till May 31 at Kalakriti Art Gallery.