“The night holds a powerful appeal for me—the silence, the palpable sense of time and the unknown draws me to photograph. The sense of disquiet and having to be constantly aware enables making photographs that otherwise would go unnoticed. Rather than photograph the night as a mysterious world, I prefer to make visible what is ordinarily dark and hidden. I achieve this by exposing colour negative film for long periods, sometimes for several hours”, says the artist.
Dhruv Malhotra lived in Noida from 2007 to 2010 and photographed this aggressively developing semi-urban satellite of Delhi. He was drawn to desolate spaces lying on the edges of urbanity, inhabiting a borderland of sorts, which are almost invisible.
“While photographing, I would find people sleeping out in the open. [The] human figure in this built/un-built landscape suggested a greater complexity in the way public spaces are used. Sometimes, I chanced upon sites that had transformed to host temporary events and it was this chameleon aspect that appealed to me.”
The night-time outskirts of Noida, appear as a surreal land in the photographs. The sodium vapour lights embracing silhouettes of trees and high-tension wire poles create a delusional visual experience of an ideal urban skyline. Devoid of any living soul, the photographic panorama chronicles trespassing narratives of underdevelopment into a haphazard spread of rapidly overhauling satellite city.