The city that was
Photographer D. Krishnan hopes to capture Chennai of the 21st Century for posterity
Madras in the early 1900s: Mylapore.
SOME STREETS in Chennai that pulsate with life today were empty, 50 years ago, like a sheet of blank paper. One picture among a collection dating between 1880 and 1930, presents the First Line Beach Road as a desolate landscape; there is not a hint of the bustling Burma Bazaar, which has today come to define the area.
The collection that has come from short-on-technology, unwieldy, wooden cameras, tells us how a city can change beyond imagination.
One would like to believe that Vintage Vignettes, as the collection is called, sends out a message to conservationists and conservation-photographers: "Be on your toes, always. A city is forever changing."
Press and ad photographer D. Krishnan has launched what is known as the Turbo Energy Chennai Heritage Project, which will capture for posterity the city during the early part of the 21st Century.
The Central Railway Station.
The collection of 1,000 photographs in black and white film and digital colour, will include heritage and landmark buildings, prominent colleges and schools, stadiums, temples, churches and mosques, lakes and water bodies, parks, major industrial houses, clubs and markets.
"I have chosen black and white film, because it is the only photographic medium that has stood the test of time. The life of a colour print and negative is limited, and storage in digital discs or tapes has its own technological disadvantages," says Krishnan.
With the project one-month-old now, Krishnan shares his experiences, clicking pictures around the city.
"The police and the public have been extremely cooperative. The hoardings, however, pose a problem. They obstruct the view, most of the time."
Turbo Energy Ltd. is extending support to the project; and the Government Museum, Chennai, will be a collaborator.
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