Parthiv Shah is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, India. He has been recipient of several awards including senior fellowship in Photography by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Charles Wallace Fellowship, UK and Fulbright Lectureship award to teach photography at the UCLA, USA. He is the Founder-Director of Centre for Media and Alternative Communication (CMAC). Lately Parthiv has been particularly interested and engaged in working on the issue of image perception and representation. He has made several documentary films, curated and participated in many photo exhibitions across the world and has several photo-books to his credit.
“…the story of exile…closes in; on the freedom of our minds, our breath, our thoughts, our prayers...”
- The Walled City, Esther David
Jerusalem for me is: Religion. Roots. Belonging. Nostalgia. Tradition
A melting pot of buried histories, a story of faith and freedom, city of Jerusalem intrigued my senses. It was most unlike a city one would normally imagine. This surreal city is one, full of utter candor, emotion, love and beauty. The mix of modernity and tradition, peace and tumult, for me, made the city very challenging, yet interesting to interpret.
A city annihilated, conquered, built and crushed, then rebuilt again and again is full of life even today even in the smallest nooks and crannies of its winding alleys. The idea of birth and rebirth is very important in the culture of this city, which is also seen in the ideals of religions it encapsulates. The very soul of Jerusalem has transmigrated through the faith of its people. This metaphor of metempsychosis found all across the city and its history is truly invigorating.
A city whose history is buried in the several layers of its soft Senonian limestone, tells the stories of various faiths, religions and conflicts. The people and the monuments here have witnessed some of the most breathtaking moments in human history. The bustling life bears witness of the multifarious cultures that have thrived here in my documentation.
The inhabitants of this city, while deeply entrenched in their faiths have an immense loyalty to the city and its life. The juxtaposing stories of the people and how they survive in their day to day lives. Understanding the complexity of these lives, yet the simple ways these people choose to live them is an important part of the way I have presented the images. The traversing paths and contrasting lives of these individuals tell us numerous tales of joy and despair, happiness and mourning, freedom and restriction and make us think about the varied lenses they live their lives through.