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Madonna and the Child

I gathered my inspiration to shoot the 'Madonna and the Child' from a freak incident which caught my attention while I was visiting family back in India. A pregnant woman enduring labor is carted away to the nearby Sub-Divisional hospital on a quiet summer evening in a laid back industrial town in the state of West Bengal. Eager to experiment on the the pre photographic gestures of the 'Madonna and the Child' dating back to the history of painting and sculpture; and curious to observe the socio-economic conditions in a time of turmoil where apprehension breathes in the air and instinctive attachment to new found resistance is emerging, so I decided to visit the maternity ward of the Sub Divisional Hospital to shoot some pictures. On arriving at the administration office when I expressed my intentions to photograph the maternity ward I was asked if I had anyone in there; on learning that I had no one my request was rejected. During our discussion I had to mention that I was a photographer practicing in the United States and these pictures are to feature in my project; this only worsened matters as the authorities became skeptical of any bad publicity that may arise due to the portraying of the pictures taken in the ill equipped, overcrowded state run hospitals. I had to cut through a lot of red tape and meet local political connections to influence the authorities to help me sneak in. I had to provide a guarantee that I'd shoot nothing that is in anyway detrimental to the image of the hospital and an officer would supervise me in my endeavors. The authorities were less tormented to know that I was shooting digitally and I would show them all the pictures before adding it to my archives. The sight of the maternity ward overwhelmed me as it was nothing short of a war zone. The staff was enduring three times the work load than the facility could handle; but the miracle of birth had touched all corners and in spite of all shortcomings the place was oozing with hope, energy and vivacity. The women had been asked to sit with their babies; some delivered two days before, some a day before and some the same day. In these pictures I have tried to capture the apprehension of motherhood, the change both physical and mental, emerging hope and the instinctive attachment depicted on the faces of these women; against a similar background the state was undergoing which co-incidentally was running elections the same day.

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