Our stories and performances reveal us in ways words might not be able to. India is going though what is probably the largest demographic shift in the history of humanity. Millions move from villages to cities carrying within their selves, their mythologies, histories and ways of looking. An increase in earning and wealth has created new confidences in peoples once poor, repressed or unsure. Particularities long suppressed due to poverty, foreign rule or suffering have begun to flow again. Identities, religious and cultural, once overwhelmed and displaced are being freed and what cannot be written or spoken about is expressed through various forms of storytelling. As the saying goes, “History flows in our blood and is not written in our books”. For many in once “remote” areas of India, regional talent shows and the Internet have become stages for the sharing of performance and stories. These are photographs of a semi rural troupe of performers at a “talent show” in a small Indian city.
Mr. Nirmal Singh, Mr Tananjeet Singh all all other members of the Bir Khalsa group for their kind cooperation and fantastic performances. Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul for his book “A Million Mutinies now” which has inspired the text and title of this work. Mr. Shantulan Mishra for coordinating and managing the shoot most effectively. Dr. Ashok Krishnan for his book recommendations, conversation and friendship.
Ryan Lobo was born in 1973 in Bangalore. After a Bachelors degree in Science he left for the US in 1996 to do a Master’s degree in Cell Biology. Towards the end of his course Ryan returned to India and with a friend, set up an advertising agency called Opus CDM. In 2000, Ryan co-founded Mad Monitor Productions, a film and photo production company. Ryan has traveled the planet shooting and producing more than 80 films to date on subjects ranging from Taliban drug farmers, Papua New Guinean tribal initiation rites and American maximum-security prisons to the culinary enjoyments’ of Anglo Indians. His films have aired on the National Geographic Channel, Animal Planet, The Oprah Winfrey Show and PBS among other networks. During the process of film making Ryan found his still photography almost compulsive. He feels that photography often allows him greater fulfillment and endeavors that it gives voice to people, intangibles and stories without. He is currently based in Bangalore and is currently working on writing, photography and film projects.
For the last decade his photographs and writing have been featured in magazines like Tehelka, Outlook Traveler, Marie Claire, Elle, The Wall Street Journal, Geo, Time Out, The Boston review, Chimurenga, The Caravan, Onzeweruld and Bidoun magazine among others. His photographs have been exhibited all over India and are a part of many collections.
Ryan has been represented by Tasveer since 2006. In 2009, he shared his photographs and his ideas on storytelling at the TED conference, to a standing ovation. From 2007 to late 2010, Ryan co-produced the independent feature length documentary “The Redemption of General Butt Naked” which won for best cinematography at the Sundance film festival in early 2011. His website is www.ryanlobo.net and his blog is www.ryanlobo.blogspot.com.