If I were to count, there are only a handful of books worthy of your time to come out of Indian photography scene, some of them I’ve written about earlier (A Way Into India, Sent A Letter). And with Sohrab Hura’s new book, we have another one added to the list.
Self published under the title of Ugly Dog, “Life is elsewhere” is Hura’s first book, which he worked on for more than seven years. Firstly what I really like about it is the size, its somewhat like a notebook, black and white dust jacket with a green hardcover inside. Very similar in size to another book which I recently added to my collection by Ken Schles’s ’88 “Invisible City”.
Inside images are printed on heavy matt paper, which adds density to the already high contrast full bleed photographs. The narrative rises from domestic trauma, flowing out in all directions of the photographers life, influencing him. But what really drives the book is how Hura confronts the darkness and leads it all into light, constantly in conflict with the two halves of being a son and a man.
Essentially “Life is elsewhere” is an emotional journey posting questions about love, loss and conflict. There are fragments in this book which lead out into paths unknown but it all eventually converges into a singular point. What really sets this book apart from the others is Hura’s personal notes, his handwriting and the unapologetic approach.
Hura’s book is not about his mother or his tribute to other artists in his journey (Trent Parke, Antoine d’agata to name a few) but mostly a self portrait. It certainly is not the definitive book when it comes to Sohrab’s work but what excites me is to see where this book will lead, for its a small story in a long anthology. I would definitely recommend the book for your library (limited to 500 copies which of course are sold out, so you might have to hunt a bit).