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Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Photographer
Balaji Maheshwar
Dear Cinema,
Gomma Photography Grant 2023 Winners

Gomma Photography Grant 2023

Dear Cinema,

Photographer

Balaji Maheshwar

Dear Cinema,

22 Feb, 2024

A patriarch is to lead his family, by following his dream, he shall bring prosperity to his home. These dreams don’t always work in our favours though – and to admit defeat is one of men’s hardest challenges. This work shows how a family’s path unfolds because - or in spite of the aspirations of their leader. How the world of cinema shapes their stories and self-perception, their longings, and aspirations. A family is shaped by their father’s self- understanding, by a nostalgic conservation of old days of glory, passed down to their sons. It shapes all of them, over time, subconsciously. How does my father shape me and how did his father shape him? Can I break the cycle or lead us to the light, can we have a common dream? This work shows the paths that were taken to reach a common goal and how the grandson of a cineaste, becoming a photographer is able to encapsulate, ever-lovingly this story of a family’s strives onto images, that when we look upon them unfold a movie in our minds.

Words by Gomma (Laura Estelle Barmwoldt)


Artist statement: Sometimes I think about how cinema suspended me and my family from reality. My family would have been very different if my grandfather had not left his hometown with dreams of becoming an actor. He was fascinated by the image of an actor that he saw on screen. Cinema gave my family a time under the spotlight but the life we constructed around it crumbled after the death of my grandfather. It was my father who lead me into the world of cinema and while he too dreamt of becoming an actor, his dream was star crossed. He struggled all his youth, only to make a fleeting appearance in a film. While we shared a close bond during my childhood, at some point in time, I began to drift away from my father. To confront the distance between us, I began to photograph him. There exists generational trauma within the family, and I am looking for ways to overcome it. “Dear Cinema,” became an exploration to understand myself and my father through cinema and its many worlds. The more I worked on this, the more I understood what cinema gave and what it took.

About the photographer

Balaji Maheshwar

Balaji Maheshwar is a photographer and filmmaker from Chennai. He believes that his works are autobiographical in nature and that through his relationship with the outside world, he is able to observe and understand the self. The experience of having looked at death and loss closely and their repetition has made him look at life as one long tunnel through which we pass. Balaji was selected as one of the participants from Asia for the Angkor Photo Workshop, 2019 and was mentored by Antoine D’Agata and Sohrab Hura. His work was selected for Dhaka Doc Lab and Doc Edge Kolkata, 2023.