“sometimes you can destroy your photography by being a photographer.”
Sohrab Hura nasceu em 1981 em Chinsurah, India. Estudou Economia na Universidade de Deli e na escola de Economia de Deli (onde obteve o seu mestrado). A fotografia surgiu, portanto, como um circuito paralelo, não estudado nem planeado, mas foi através desta que encontrou o seu “elemento”. Começou a fotografar em 2001, mas foi a partir de 2005, com a conclusão dos seus estudos que passou a “querer dizer qualquer coisa através da fotografia”. Há dois anos (com apenas 32 anos) foi eleito membro da celebérrima “confraria” Magnum. Sohrab tornou-se, assim, o segundo fotógrafo indiano a juntar-se à Magnum (o primeiro foi Raghu Rai).
A fotografia de Sohrab dispersou-se por múltiplos temas e trabalhos. A candidatura à Magnum – que dita uma submissão inicial de 60 fotografias – levou-o a sistematizar, organizar e pensar a sua obra. Fotografando abundantemente, este número (60) foi quase intimidatório (de pequeno, na sua perspectiva) e contou, neste esforço de síntese com a colaboração de Olivia Arthur e Susan Meiselas. Daqui resultou uma triagem que incluía (ainda) umas centenas de fotografias de 6, trabalhos), posteriormente reduzida a 3 trabalhos. São as escolhas difíceis, acrescento, que nos definem.
Muito mais conhecido na Índia (e Ásia em geral), evita pensar no peso desse reconhecimento: “I think the best way to give back to the medium and the community is by just doing work. And I just want to try and make work and be myself. If I start to take on all these things consciously it will never again be just about me and the work, and I won’t ever do justice to what I want to do.”
Acerca da honestidade e da permanente insatisfação, “How does one gauge, and in turn, nurture honesty as a person? I think we can only try to be the best judge of ourselves as we can. There is no formula to it. In my case there is a natural tendency in me to believe that my work is not good enough. Actually it is more a tendency to believe that my work could be a lot better, and not the former. And this really helps. There is always scope to do something better.”
2005, a tal altura em que passou a “querer dizer qualquer coisa através da fotografia”, marcou o início de um longo projecto, intitulado “Sweet Life”, que seria concluído em 2014. Este projecto tem dois capítulos, o primeiro designado “Life Is Elsewhere” (2005 a 2011), o segundo recebeu o título “Look, It’s Getting Sunny Outside!!!”
Este é um trabalho notável. “(…) I felt that I needed to photograph my own mother before photographing someone else’s mother.” Já tinha fotografado a Índia rural e a sua pobreza extrema. Porém, “I think it’s always easier to photograph someone else’s misery and not one’s own”. “Life Is Elsewhere” retrata o afundamento da sua mãe na esquizofrenia: “I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite. It was important for me to photograph someone close to me I could be accountable to (…)” Mudou a sua forma de olhar para certa fotografia: “I started to hate photographs of people with mental illness in general. Almost all photographers, when they work on this “issue”, try and bring out a sense of madness which I didn’t agree with. There is more to people with any kind of mental illness than madness, if at all, there was that madness. So I wanted to photograph my mother not as a photographer, but as a son.”
O capítulo 2 tem um carácter mais redentor: “Over the years when my mother’s condition started to improve I started to photograph at home more. Apart from my mother the focus of the photographs also included her dog Elsa who had been her sole companion at home for many years and also the house itself whose condition deteriorated or improved as my mother’s illness regressed or progressed. Her relationship with Elsa which had substituted intimate human contact as simple as touch or conversation all these years, had played a big part in my mother’s improvement.”
Acerca da estática e da linguagem, “They’re both very different for me. Aesthetics/style is nothing but something superficial. But language is how you say something you want to, and aesthetics is just a small part of it. Language is something that comes from within, and is close to one’s core and aesthetics can very often have no meaning other than something decorative and nothing else. Of course, aesthetics can be extremely seductive but if a work is just about aesthetics it will never live too long.”
Mas voltemos à frase com a qual iniciei o texto: “sometimes you can destroy your photography by being a photographer.” Esta frase interessa-me e deixemo-lo falar em discurso directo:” When I first sensed this, I was questioning my photos when I was working on “Life is Elsewhere”. I felt that they were too “trained” and the photographer in the work was too visible, and it was not the son photographing his mother but the photographer photographing someone who happened to be his mother. When I looked at the photos I felt that the photographs were catching my attention but they were not raw enough. (…) I wanted at that time to try and see the way a child looks at the world. But the photographer in me had been so ingrained over years of conditioning that I could only try and do the best that I could. Today this feeling about one’s photography being destroyed by being a photographer is even more relevant and urgent for me. Towards the end of any work, I can sense that my conditioning to working that way has allowed me to get a sense of what makes a good photo or a photo that works, and the moment that sense comes to me with ease is when I need to get worried. This is also the reason why I need to let go of the work that I’ve done and start something from scratch (…)”
Os fotógrafos desta rubrica, estão disponíveis, após a sua publicação, em: Um fotógrafo às terças, com acesso ao arquivo por nome de autor. Com curadoria de João Jarego.