MAHESH SHANTARAM     PHOTOGRAPHER | BANGALORE, INDIA

Mahesh Shantaram uses personal and subjective documentary photography series to study complex systems, societies, and institutions, particularly with reference to contemporary India.

Everything that’s great about India and everything that’s wrong with it can be summarised in a single wedding. I n Matrimania, six years in the making, Mahesh Shantaram constructs a fictional photo series about Indian society seen through the prism of its wedding culture . Matrimania was seen at the Sony World Photography Awards 2011 (3rd Prize, Arts & Culture), Photoquai 2011, PhotoPhnomPenh 2012, Delhi Photo Festival 2013, Addis Photo Festival 2014, and Chobi Mela 2015.

Mahesh Shantaram is often seen rubbing shoulders with politicians. This is necessitated by the project that was born during the tumultuous days leading into India’s hotly contested general elections of 2014. (Mis)using the tools of news photojournalism to document political culture in India, Mahesh Shantaram offers a window into the theatre of Indian­style politics and its state actors. In 2015, the BJP (the one in London, not Delhi) put him on their O nes to Watch list.

Mahesh Shantaram is also interested in the photobook as an art object. In the summer of 2011, he was invited by Visiting Arts UK for a residency in Cardiff, Wales. The handcrafted dummy book produced from that work was one of eight books that comprised Foam Magazine’s historic issue #34 (DUMMY). Together with his wife, he runs the Open House Photobook Library in Bangalore to spread awareness of this wonderful medium and artform.

Mahesh Shantaram spent his childhood years growing up in Kuwait, finished his schooling and a obtained a degree in Computer Electronics in Bangalore, worked as research analyst in Washington, DC, went on to pursue a diploma in photography in Paris. In 2006, he moved back to Bangalore and has been an independent photographer ever since. He’s flown a plane and driven a bus but has never had the opportunity to drive a car yet.

Website: www.thecontrarian.in