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Lost City

Pradeep K S | Karnataka, India

Nyatappa, 82, is a farmer from Gunjur, Bengaluru. He grows three crops in a year: cucumber, tomato and capsicum. Nyatappa expects to harvest in the next couple weeks and sell it at HAL Market. He is not happy with this year's yield. He believes Bengaluru should be developed along with its region to maintain the city-region symbiosis.

I grew up in Bengaluru, and most of my childhood memories are of a city that is fast disappearing. In the last two decades Bengaluru has witnessed dramatic progress. Once a 'garden city', it is now a teeming metropolis. Fuelled by the population explosion, high-rise buildings have changed the city’s skyline completely. A city that was once hailed for its salubrious climate, green cover and laidback attitude has been overtaken by traffic snarls, increasing pollution, garbage crisis and rising temperatures. Where once there was space for all, there is now a metropolis that pays no attention to inclusive development. It was this loss of identity that inspired me to document the changing spaces of the city and examine its impact on the community.

 

The city of Bengaluru was my first muse, my first subject. Over the past nine years, I've spent so many days walking around and rediscovering this place and its people — with my camera. Each day hold the promise of a fresh discovery when observing this living, breathing and growing entity that doesn’t forget the past, protects the present and makes space for future possibilities.

Bengaluru has grown like a city on steroids — but this growth "momentum" is in danger of being unsustainable. Citizens are already paying the price for its unplanned growth and the administration is overwhelmed as it lacks the financial, human and technical resources to serve Bengalureans adequately.

It was in 2009 that I took my first DSLR and began exploring the narrow lanes of the Pete area. Every day, while travelling around the city, I would observe and capture the changes in Bengaluru. While I didn’t follow any specific style or technique in shooting these photos, I was keen on showing Bengaluru's contrasts; for instance, the developing versus developed areas of the city. This is an ongoing project and I will continue to add to it with 'before and after' photos of the Metro, flyover and other major infrastructure development projects. What I hope will be visible in this decade's worth of photos is the complete transformation of a city, its citizenry, and a way of life.

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