Mahesh Shantaram


Marriage celebration always sets out to be the dreamed promise of a life in store, of unlimited happiness, of a glorious future. Marriage must be a fiesta, a gamble and, at the same time, the demonstration of a social position. Especially in a country such as India, governed by a strict caste hierarchy. Mahesh Shantaram, documenting middle class marriages in his country with colours that come closest to the highest extravagances of the genre, engages in a delicious inventory with an amusing take –verging closer on catastrophe as the images build up– on these manifestations. It all comes across as fictitious, mediocre, artificial. The marriages end disastrously, while the initial sequence of plasticised gilding gives way to rooms strewn with detritus whilst the guests succumb to the effects of alcohol. The fluorescent lighting screams green and pink, the artificial flower arrangements collapse, and the make-up cracks showing the really desperate nature of this theatre of conventions.


Born in 1977 in Bangalore, India, the city where he lives and works. In 2006 he concluded his studies of Photography at the Institut de Photographie Spéos in Paris and returned to India. His series Steady State, Airtime and Matrimania throw a new light on his country, a fresher take that steers away from the nostalgic. His work has received the Sony World Photography Award and his exhibitions have included Photoquai in Paris, PhotoPhnomPenh in Cambodia and the Empty Quarter Gallery in Dubai.


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