No home to sleep
On a sunny day morning this man Mr. Kumar was sleeping next to the railway track and behind this hoarding. He doesn’t have a home and makes his living out of collecting some waste paper and plastic. He says, police don’t allow him to sleep on the platform, so the cover behind the hoarding is safe for him. Sivananda Circle, Bangalore.
‘The Other Side’ is a self realization project for a photographer who is making his living out of advertising. I have been in advertising for 8 years now and handled creative requirements of many interesting brands from across the globe. When I roamed around the city of Bangalore, I found this interesting opportunity to shoot creative contrasts behind the hoardings. Almost all the billboards I saw in the city had another side, filled with interesting visual imagery. When I realized the importance of that other side, I started shooting them all on my iPhone for the last 8 months. This project was very close to my heart and helped me realize my inner advertising sense.
Editor’s Note – Anil Cherukupalli
Pee Vee’s photo essay shows us, in a manner of speaking, the other side of the mirror. Advertising hoardings saturate our commons but the majority of us would never have thought about what goes on behind these glowing billboards that offer every dream as long as one can afford to pay for it. By the simple act of peeking behind these rosy facades, Pee Vee gives us glimpses of the other India, which often lies buried in the inside pages of newspapers. An India that still wants for the basics: clean water, safe housing, a healthy meal. It is a depressing glimpse for the most part, a terrible indictment in fact of the current trickle down economic system, riddled with corruption, that has only benefited a few. By their simple juxtapositions, the photos raise many uncomfortable questions about the development model that India is espousing.
These billboards can also be thought of as gigantic veils, often hiding the mundane but harsh realities behind them. It is a different matter that beyond the wafer thin attractive worlds on offer through these billboards, there is only a deep emptiness. An anodyne attempt to seduce everyone, one hoarding at a time. While the copy might be clever and the photography impressive, in the end, they have only been installed for the big sell. The companies whose wares are on display are not bothered about the world behind these billboards. They are shouting out to only the world in front, the paying crowd, the target market if you will. The rest is just background noise.