Sebastian Cortés: Sidhpur - Time Present Time Past
HARDCOVER 112 PAGES 45 COLOUR ILLUSTRATIONS ESSAY BY ROSALYN D’MELLO 8.25 × 10.5 IN (210 × 266 MM)
Sebastian Cortés’ series Sidhpur: Time Present Time Past forms the first in-depth photographic exploration of the Bohra Islamic community in Sidhpur, a little-known small town in Gujarat. Chancing upon Sidhpur while on assignment, Cortés was intrigued by its rich heritage and distinctive vernacular architecture. Building on from the ideas explored in his previous book Pondicherry, this latest publication demonstrates Cortés’ continuing interest in documenting and uncovering India’s more enigmatic facets, this time through careful photographic studies of the traditional habitats and domestic spaces of the Dawoodi Bohras, an elusive and veiled Islamic community.
Cortés’ approach is to “take time to unveil small narratives”, and continually highlight photography’s ability to capture, expose and visually interpret lingering moods and inherent natures contained within domestic architectural spaces.
The photographs in this series are saturated with fragments of what was once valued, of past luxuries and prizes, that despite neglect resist decay and refuse to be entirely dismissed. He captures the residual memories, histories and traces of past lives that persist in the facades of buildings, in empty rooms, windows, doors, stairways, and other distinguishing features of Bohra architecture. Through doing this Cortés’ images allude to the past contained within the present; commenting on the slow dissolution of a culture, while serving as an exercise in preservation, a record of ‘the remains of the day’.