Can you “see” time? In Mumbai, you certainly can – in the blurred movements of its residents hurrying from one place to the next, the trains (almost always) running to the timetable, and the disrupted circadian rhythms of a city that famously barely sleeps.
Seeing Time is the title of photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri’s fascinating new show, which provides evidence of the literal way in which Mumbai measures the day’s march. Chaudhuri has photographed 81 clocks that are fixed atop buildings, decorate the facades of offices and watch over residential societies. The exhibition will be held at Mumbai’s Max Mueller Bhavan between January 8 and February 20. All the images are in black and white, in the eight-by-12-inch format.
With this exhibition, Chaudhuri has come full circle. His debut photography show, in 1999, was also about clocks. Over the years, he has worked with such publications as Sunday Observer, Time Out Mumbai and National Geographic Traveller. His photographs of Mumbai city have appeared in a range of print publications, books such Bombay Then, Mumbai Now and in exhibitions such as One Rupee Entrepreneur, about public telephones, and The Commuters, a series of portraits of people travelling on the local train network. Chaudhuri also has to his credit A Village in Bengal, a book-length documentation of his ancestral home. He plans to expand Seeing Time into a book.
In an interview with Scroll.in, Chaudhuri explained his magnificent obsession with Mumbai and his experiences of putting together Seeing Time, which involved craning his neck upwards, perching on roofs, barging into people’s homes to get the best angle, and understanding how India’s busiest metropolis reacts to the machines that mark its hours.