THROUGH A LENS, BY A MIRROR: THE PARSIS (1977-2013)
Photographs by Sooni Taraporevala

Being both a still photographer as well as a filmmaker I am interested in single images, as well as in consecutive images viewed in time.

The Let Sleeping Dogs Lie series was made with me at a stationary spot taking consecutive photographs - the sleeping dog on the pavement remained in the same spot while everything around the dog moved in a matter of minutes.

The Priest at Nana Chowk series was made when I spotted a priest on the road and followed him without him realizing I was doing so. 

Only in the last frame did he spot me, look at me and smile.

Dara (Danny) Spencer was my beloved neighbor who played a role in the film I made Little Zizou. We celebrated his 90th birthday on the terrace of our building. He lived alone and was always in good cheer, remarkably independent and always eager to participate in everything I was doing. He would come up and listen to a narration of the latest screenplay I was writing, enthusiastically looked forward to the film premier and had his suit pressed and ready. 

The photo I made on his 90th birthday was part of my solo show PARSIS at Chemould Art Gallery in Bombay. I was devastated that he passed away the day my exhibition opened.

I made this series after his passing - Miss you Mr Spencer!

Bahadur Nanji, another amazing octogenarian, is the father of a musician friend Hossi Nanji. It must run in the genes. Bahadur Nanji was a music composer, arranger and played many instruments - primarily in the Hindi film industry of the past. One day he was called to the studio to help a visiting musician who turned out to be George Harrison of the Beatles who was so pleased at the end of their session that he gave him a signed photograph inscribed to him.

Bahadur (Brave) Nanji in his nineties lives alone, is still crazy about his music collection  - has meticulously noted which music every cassette contains.

On the day and month of the water divinity Avan, Parsis in Bombay go to the sea to pray. Every year I photograph at Marine Drive. In this series I followed two women on their journey to the sea.

Credits: Story

All photographs © Sooni Taraporevala from her exhibition THROUGH A LENS, BY A MIRROR: THE PARSIS (1977-2013) at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi, 2013. —

Credits: All media
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