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HOME: A little bit of this town goes a long way

Vibi Yhokha Sophie
Kohima | December 6

HOME- A tiny photography exhibition at D'Cafe, Jail Colony in Kohima, displaying images of the ordinary, the mundane, and the tragic realities of Nagaland by photographers Rajat Limbu, Zhazo Miachieo, Seyie Suohu, and Shürhongu Kire offers a telling perspective for those living in the State and those visiting it. 

The images which offers a reflections of our social realities, speaks of stories often disregarded. The objective of the exhibition which will be open till December 10 is to educate and inspire young photographers to explore other genre of photography, as the photographers believes in the idea of photography as a medium of social change'. 


Traces of Time
In his work 'Traces of Time', Rajat Limbu, an emerging photographer, says, 'There is beauty and meaning even in the simple activities of life, and in the strangest, smallest and filthiest of places." Street photography being his forte, Limbu's images which he has been collecting since 2017 captures the mundanities of everyday life, of ordinary lives in the capital.
The images appear simple: A local laborer carrying ply as a man in suits walks pass by. People waiting for a bus or perhaps for jobs. Someone taking his time to pick his teeth.

While Limbu wants the viewers to have an interpretation of their own, he reminds that each ordinary life matters, as he remarks, "So many things happening with people in their lives, every stranger lost in their own thoughts."


A Normal Life: Photography as a process of decolonization
For Award winning photographer Zhazo Miachieo, photography is also one process of de-colonizing minds and perceptions.

While researching for some other project, Miachieo observed that the accounts of the Naga history and way of life had often been documented by people from outside Nagaland. While there is nothing wrong in such documentation, Miachieo felt that such representation by outsiders have often been misleading. "We have been exoticized as a group of people known for their head-hunting tradition, as savages, as a community still eluded from the 21st century, as a community battered by insurgency. Our stories have been portrayed by the media to feed the appetite of the readers beyond Nagaland. I heard of a few tourists who came and were disappointed to see us as a developed, modernized community. The narrative has to change," remarks Miachieo.

Miachieo's work 'A Normal Life' documents the daily lives of Nagas in cities, towns and villages. "It is an attempt to bring a change in the way people from outside our community perceive us - that life in Nagaland is also mundane just like any other city, town or village around the world," says Miachieo.


Portraits: Every Individual has a story to tell
"A person's face has a lot of hidden emotions, and every individual has a story to tell," says Shürhongu Kire who believes that a photograph (or a series of them) has the ability to convey stories to the viewer.

Kire's colorful 'Portraits' encapsulates the young and the old Naga in unique expressions. For Kire, portraits can show the person in an emotional state.

We see people hiding behind objects, says Kire, who views that the facade can often reveal what is underneath, what a person has been through.

Kire's photography journey has changed dramatically ever since he took up the profession, from capturing landscapes and nature to focusing his lens on people.  His other personal works such as Obsessions and Wildwood also revolves around people. Capturing portraits, for Kire has enabled him to have better communication with humanity. 

"Whether it be documenting the joy of wedding, helping a business connect with its customers, photographing a family, or an art project. It is all about people, people, people!"


Dad, Cancer and Family
'Dad, Cancer and Family' captures a poignant journey of a family struggling with nasopharyngeal cancer.

"It's a photo story very close to me, to remember him, even if it was painful. 

On the other hand, it is an awareness on the burden of cancer- what it does to a family, to the wife and to the young ones.
Coming from a poor family and been blinded to these medical information, I think it's very important to know what smoking, tobacco, and our uncontrolled diet of red meat," says Suohu who felt that the story needed to be shown to a much wider audience. 

Part awareness and part memory keeping, Suohu documents a very personal story of his father who was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. It is a story of a family taking the painful journey of fighting cancer: travelling back and forth for treatment, caring and supporting, and striving to live a normal life.

"I knew I didn't have much time. So what's left of me was to continue capturing images and dad wanted me to do it and tell the story of cancer too.  Sometimes I would just shoot a frame and then I knew I won't see it again. Instances of him smiling, crying, and mom taking care of her," says Suohu who lost his father to cancer this year in September.

A little bit of this town goes a long way- Hunter J. Thompson.

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