Pablo Bartholomew's lens has seen it all, and he is here in Kathmandu this week to attend Photo Kathmandu 2016
CAPTURING PAIN: Photo of the child victim of the Bhopal gas Tragedy that won Bartholomew the World Press Photo POY in 1985.
Award-winning Indian documentary photographer Pablo Bartholomew (below) has lived by one mantra all his life: as a photographer you have to keep a certain objectivity and distance to perform. Sticking by this delivered the world one of its most striking images: the picture of the half-buried child after the Bhopal gas Tragedy in 1984 (above).
The sixty-year-old’s lens has seen it all, and he is here in Kathmandu this week to attend Photo Kathmandu 2016, the annual international photography festival in Patan next week. Bartholomew’s career has given him an appreciation for documentation and archiving of images.
For the past week, Bartholomew has been conducting a workshop with Kathmandu University students exploring various themes and motifs emerging from each student’s personal family photos. “It’s been an interesting process for me and for the students. It was a different trajectory of history that was much more intimate and hidden,” he explained. The selection will be exhibited in a slideshow on 24 October in Pimbahal as part of the Photo Kathmandu festival.
Bartholomew's parents, Richard and Rati at their home in New Delhi,1975.
Self Portrait, Delhi, 1975.
Bartholomew’s own personal efforts to archive his work and that of his father, the noted art critic Richard Bartholomew, is running side by side. One such project of his is Outside in – 70s and 80s - A tale of 3 cities - a collection of photographs of family and friends which he terms as his “teenage diaries”. He regards it more as a historical marker of that time and period than just a family photo album and is determined to bring it to Nepal soon.
Sunder with Pablo, Jr. in Calcutta, 1978.
Having worked for Gamma-Liason, TIME, Newsweek, National Geographic, LIFE, Stern, Le Figaro, GEO and The New York Times the photographer is now giving personal projects all his attention. “While working for the media you lose something, to get out of that and re-invent yourself takes time. I am still in that process,” he said.
Nommie dancing at a party at Koko's, New Delhi in1975.
Nommie and Bina, New Delhi, 1976.
These days Bartholomew captures stories of migration, displacement and family histories. Part of it has to do with tracing his own family history after a family member of his father, a Burmese who came to India during World War II, got in touch with him in 2009. He will be presenting this body of work, which is still in progress, at the photo festival on 23 October at Yala Maya Kendra.
Photo of Pablo Bartholomew by Sophie Scher