Dinesh Khanna: Kissa Kursi Ka—On Hidden Stories Within Visual Motifs
This article was originally published in April 2016.
When you get connected to one subject, you get sensitised to its presence in the most unlikely of places. Maybe that is why everyone looks, but not all see.
Horniman Circle, Bombay was where I made this image, while waiting for a friend. Whenever I wait for someone, I don’t just stand in one place… I walk around, look for a potential photographic subject. The day after I made the image came the news of the Aam Aadmi Party having done remarkably well in the elections. I couldn’t help noticing the connection. Here was this chair that had some history to it, it seemed well warmed and was at the entrance of a stately kind of place. In my head, it was almost like a chair that has become the security guard to the corridor of power, which is what the party claims and promises to be. Of course, all this was my politically inclined self interpreting a sight, but only in hindsight. It’s not like that was the thought in my head when I made the picture.
While shooting, I just react to anything that touches me. In several ways, this image represents a culmination of the thought that started this project. After all, it was about the whole idea of power, the kursi that the ruling class holds on to and the consequent beaten-down state of the aam aadmi. But then, this is just one part of me that may have found some answers. I try to ensure that projects do not make me unidimensional or visually saturated… so while spotting kursis, I’ve constantly had other pet subjects. In one way, I guess I’ve decided to engage with multiple paths, and that’s probably the joy of photography, for me.
About Dinesh Khanna
Dinesh Khanna’s career path veered from being a calculator salesman, a garment quality checker, a busboy in a New York bar and a client servicing executive, after which, he finally gave in to his desire to make images. He cofounded the Delhi Photo Festival and regularly conducts ‘addas’ in Delhi to encourage discussions on the medium.