Getting out of Chennai, the city where I grew up, takes over an hour on my Enfield. Heat beats on my helmet and dodging traffic, screening noise, inhaling exhaust fumes forces my senses to overload levels. Finally, I feel I have made good on my escape and find myself on a relatively open stretch of highway from which I take the first exit.
I have arrived someplace new. I pass green paddies where lines of women, petticoats tucked up to the waist and bare legs sunk into brown water, bend to tender rice plants; I slow behind a rocking bullock cart, straw eclipsing the driver except for the calloused flat feet I glimpse between unbalanced wheels. I almost miss the unmarked carved stone bathing tank designed for a princess long forgotten. There are crooked lines of palms and in the spaces in between, keath-roofed shacks with mud yards swept bare except for children in afternoon-dingy uniforms chasing cycle tires with a stick.
My first borrowed Holga camera knocked something loose in me; now I have my own and it is helping me to wrap my past and my present into a future. This is a series on my home state of Tamil Nadu, India. It has come together over time from the end of 2016. It represents the every-day influences, dilemmas, contrasts, dramas and dreams out of which my identity must have evolved. As a kid I was told who I would have to be or what I would have to do; my choices for being who I wanted to be were repressed thus these images are reflections of my fragmented memories. The distant ring of a temple bell hints something is there. The day stretches ahead, and the grass track leads me on towards forgotten memories. I explore as a foreigner in my own land. It is up to me to decide who I can be and where I will go from here
Ārun (b. 1990, India) focuses on the contemporary forces of development on Indian identity, traditional culture and natural environments. Shooting in his preferred black and white medium format, he investigates his subjects with an eye for lines of geometry and contrasts of light and shadow, influenced by his appreciation for the work of Lu Nan and Gordon Parks. His personal stories demonstrate his intense study of a subject often offset by surprising observations unexpected by the viewer.Ārun is a self-taught, freelance photographer with a particular interest in archival photographic processes. He has been mentored by French photographer, Yannick Cormier.