Ceiling Stories

 
These pictures were not filed as they did not connect with the reporter’s story. This just proves the adage that a story can have many sides. Photograph/ Ritesh Uttamchandani

These pictures were not filed as they did not connect with the reporter’s story. This just proves the adage that a story can have many sides. Photograph/Ritesh Uttamchandani.

Ritesh Uttamchandani talks about spending a few days viewing the rooms of sex workers through their eyes.

"As I shot the ceilings, I began to notice the finer details that added to the final photograph"—Ritesh Uttamchandni

The Deputy Photo Editor of OPEN magazine, Ritesh wishes to constantly seek and tell moving stories.

Some months ago, I was assigned to make photographs for a story on Sangli’s cleanest brothel. The title ‘cleanest brothel’ raises many questions in one’s head. Bandamma, the madam of the brothel, was kind enough to give me a free run of the place, and the women—some young, some old—were graciously accepting of my presence.

The assignment was humbling and broke many of my preconceptions about commercial sex workers. I photographed the only thing that these women see daily, constantly, with a million thoughts in their head, or none at all—the ceiling.

In a few houses, I used the self timer mode and wedged the camera on pillows. However, in most other houses, I lay down myself. The beds felt hard, very hard to my pampered back. Someday, I wish to go back and photograph the rest of the houses and sample more of the karanji (a sweetmeat) that one of the women gave me.

The spaces felt cramped—as if they were trapping the inhabitants in their environment. Photograph/ Ritesh Uttamchandani

The spaces felt cramped—as if they were trapping the inhabitants in their environment. Photograph/Ritesh Uttamchandani.

How to Tell a Story in a Strongly Individualistic Manner

  • Your eye should be a reflection of your understanding and acceptance of the people.
  • If you have been given a brief about a particular story, it is important that you interpret it uniquely.You need to embellish it and illustrate it in a manner better than the usual fare.
  • Break a few rules, push yourself and explore all options. You might not get access every day.

To see more of Ritesh’s work, log onto http://riteshuttamchandani.photoshelter.com/

Tags: Photofeature, November 2011, better photography, photojournalist, Ritesh Uttamchandani