In 2020, homegrown visual artist Hari Katragadda, in collaboration with writer and artist Shweta Upadhyay, won the prestigious Alkazi Grant for their ingeniously intense photobook titled 'I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.’ Hari said the project was inspired by the opening scene in Jean Luc- Godard’s Le Mépris (1963) and the Billie Holiday song, I’ll Be Seeing You (1944).
André Bazin, French film critic
This famous quote shines brightly on-screen in the opening sequence of Le Mépris. The idea of desire is the thematic crux of Hari and Shweta’s photo book. Hari conceived the idea and translated it into this photo series through the expressions of the protagonist, his partner Shweta. The series is a tribute to the ephemeral moments filled with memories of loves lost and a yearning for the reawakening of love. It attempts to capture ways of seeing and perceiving one’s lover, desire, the lack thereof, and the heartache that follows a search for the elusive other.
At the heart of the photobook and its title, is the eternal symbol of love- the moon. The moon emblematizes the intense desire for the lover, the world, and the image of the lover behind the veil. Just like the moon can be admired from a distance but forever remains elusive, so is the nature of the desire for one’s lover.
The series is heavily inspired by the gothic romance genre with connotations of the supernatural, absent presences, and prognosticatory spaces loaded with a sense of haunting desire, filled with hidden secrets, omens, and birds. The photo book’s protagonist is a haunting figure on the verge of disappearance and consequent reappearance, much like the moon in its different stages. Interwoven within the series is the gaze of the photographer, resounding with the voice of the subject. Through the mediums of mark-making, erasure, and embroidery, the vision of the book is to layer the images to bring out the entanglements of the self and relationships. The subject is not a passive recipient on the other end of a camera but takes charge of her narrative and endows it with fiction, suppressed memories, allusions, fable, ephemeral presences, secrets, and deception.
Printer: Naveen Printers, New Delhi
Publication Date and Place: 1st July 2022, Mumbai
Edition of 500
Size: 23.7 x 16.5 x 5.8 cm
106 pages, 72 photographs and drawings
Handmade, accordion fold, hardbound with jute thread spine in a glow-in-the dark painted box
Offset, digital, screenprint, acrylic, gold and silver foil, and various other materials / Renoir Extra White 160 gsm
Price in India: INR 5700 (including shipping)
You can order the photo book by writing to email@example.com.
If you enjoyed reading this, here's more from Homegrown: