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Because she cares!

Photographer Sipra Das mounts her first solo exhibition this Saturday at Lalit Kala Akdemi on the visually impaired, reports RANA SIDDIQUI


For a student cheating in the examination hall, the "answer lies somewhere else" , not in his notebook. For the cupid struck, an empty classroom could be the best venue for the expression of the heart. For some young boys, music is the most enthralling, rejuvenating exercise. And who says trekking is a hurdle for girls? Finding all these scenes in photographs may not surprise you till you are told that the people in them are all visually impaired.

And that these pictures with a rather subtle sense of humour too, are taken by Delhi-based photographer Sipra Das. Comprising as many as 50 pictures on the life of visually impaired people, her solo exhibition begins at the Lalit Kala Akademi this Saturday. An interesting aspect of it is, even visually impaired people, to whom it is dedicated, will be able to see them. Sipra has got a book of these picture details prepared in Braille for the purpose.

There is more. Sidelining celebrities and politicians, she has invited nine-year-old visually impaired twins girls to inaugurate the show titled "Third Eye". The show continues till next Friday.

Sipra spent time with these people to capture their mood by living with them, going on trekking with them from Darjeeling to Djongri in Nepal, Patnitop in Jammu and Kashmir, villages in Bihar, Gujarat, Bengal and even Delhi. "Every one discouraged me from putting up an exhibition as they are not generally photogenic and beautiful. But I went ahead," she says.

Social cause

Currently employed with a news magazine, this ace photographer's journey to news photography, she relates, was not an easy one. She started photography in 1983 when hardly any women news photographer was there. "I was not given a job in Anand Bazar Patrika despite freelancing for them and bringing them pictures that their photographers weren't able to. It was only after I gave an exclusive photograph of Rajiv Gandhi inaugurating the Farakka bridge in Kolkata to PTI that they came to me with an appointment letter to my house and said, `We haven't given you a job, you have achieved it'," she recalls.

Talking of a kidnapping attempt on her in Kolkata, snide remarks and misbehaviour of her male counterparts many a times, she says bitter memories are fading now as she has dedicated herself to highlighting social causes in her pictures besides the usual work of news photography.


Her next exhibition will also be on a social cause, which may take approximately two years from now, she informs.

This exhibition will travel to Mumbai, Hyderabad and her hometown Kolkata by this year-end.

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