HYDERABAD: While Pascal Bernard and Anupama Raju’s earlier project focussed on the town of Pondicherry, the Indo-French poetry-photography exhibition ‘Surface et Profondeurs’ on display at Alliance Francaise captures the port city of La Rochelle, France.
The exhibition is a blend of poems and photographs that have a connect with each other at some level, though they are individualistic in nature. A collaboration between French photographer Pascal Bernard and poet Anupama Raju, the Surface and Depths (English translation of ‘Surface et Profondeurs’) exhibit explores the depth of La Rochelle, its heritage and culture. Some are pictures that capture various locations of La Rochelle, there are few that have a strong connect with the poems.
“If you try to find some meaning to the picture based on the poem, then you’ll be disappointed. The poems are not meant to be an accompaniment to the pictures. They are not an illustration of the poem. They make sense on their own as well, vice versa for the poems,” points out Anupama.
The 39-year old poet and journalist, stayed in La Rochelle, home to Pascal Bernard during her residency which was part of cultural partnership between Pondicherry and La Rochelle. During her stay, the sights, heritage, culture and people that inspired her formed the basis for her 12 poems on the city. “The process was long, I didn’t write all of them at the same time, some were written during my stay there while others were penned after my return to India. The entire work including taking photographs took eight to 10 months,” shares Anupama.
While in their first collaboration Pondicherry: ‘One city, One place, One person’, Pascal had first taken pictures following which Anupama wrote poems. This time, the duo reversed their roles. “In the first project, Pascal had come to India and stayed in Pondicherry for a while. This time, I sent him my poems, and he went about the visualisation,” adds Anupama. While the poet admits most poems don’t have any relation to the photographs, some pictures she terms are “symbolic of their collaboration”.
“There is a poem where I’m talking about the Maison Henri II, an old renaissance building supposedly haunted. Pascal went there and took its pictures. The picture on the beach where there is a lighthouse and a cloth is flying in the air, that I feel symbolizes our relationship,” informs Anupama.
Surface and Depths is on display at Alliance Francaise, Banjara Hills till September 17.