‘Street Dreams’ come true in life and on film for two shutterbugs

‘Street Dreams’ come true in life and on film for two shutterbugs
Upneet Pansare
Posted online: Tuesday , October 23, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Monday , October 22, 2007 at 11:54:30

Mumbai, October 22 At 11, both Haran and Vicky Roy ran away from their homes in West Bengal, hoping to escape a life of poverty and deprivation. But they landed on the streets of Delhi, alone and vulnerable.

Eleven years later, both returned but as budding photographers, chronicling the life on the streets on film. The exhibition of their photographs, titled ‘Street Dreams’, is on display (October 22-27) at Express Towers in Nariman Point, courtesy Salaam Balak Trust—an NGO that works for street children.

The trust spotted both of them (now 22) on the streets of Delhi in 1996—Haran, who ran away from his home in Madanmohunpur, worked as a coolie at the Nizamuddin railway station while Vicky, who hails from Puralia, worked at an eatery and also as a ragpicker.

“At first, I did not want to accompany them (to SBT). But after a few days, I went along with some friends. The people at the trust provided us with everything-food, shelter and education. I fared miserably in studies and always knew I had to do something different,” Haran reminisced.

In 2001, he attended a photography workshop arranged by the SBT where children were given a simple Kodak KB10 camera to shoot anything they liked. “I decided focus on street children. With the help of senior lensmen like Amit Khullar, a few photographs we took were selected and then complied in a book. Almost all my photos were there and everyone appreciated them,” he said.

Another exhibition followed where Haran’s photos were edited by none other than Raghu Rai. “Working with him was an honour. He suggested that I should do some more research on the life on the streets and then take photographs to have a substantial amount of work,” Haran said.

Having received training from senior professionals, Haran held his first solo exhibition in 2005 with the help of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. He also worked with the Times of India for a brief period.

Vicky’s life too followed a similar path. “My parents didn’t want me to join SBT. They wanted me to work. But SBT helped me nurture my dreams. I consider Prabhudas Gupta as my role model,” he said. Vicky, whose photographs are on display at the South Hampton University in London, wants to be recognised as “one of the top 10 photographers in the world”.

Haran and Vicky are also learning to handle the adulation and the fame even as they are being offered jobs by top ad agencies, photographers and national and international publications.

“There was a time when people hesitated to talk with me because I was poor. But my life has completely changed now,” Haran said.

For ‘Street Dreams’, Haran and Vicky chose to capture the brighter side of the life on the streets. “I didn’t want to highlight the miseries and suffering. I have only depicted the positive aspects-photographs of children playing, laughing and enjoying their lives as they are,” said Haran.

Vicky said he could portray the life of street children because he could identify with them. “I have chosen only those children for my photographs who attend school regularly. As a child, I had a dream and I fulfilled it. I want these children to make something out of their lives too,” he said.

While Vicky aims at working with top fashion photographers, Haran wants to continue freelancing. “After I get married, I will adopt at least two street children and provide them with all the amenities that I was deprived of in my childhood,” Haran said.

“These (street) children are like any of our children. They lack guidance and proper training. If they are given opportunities, they can develop and shine as well. That is what we have tried to do at the SBT,” said Zarin Gupta, Trustee, SBT.

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