-by Ulka Chauhan
Camera: Leica M10-R
I am a travel/portrait/street photographer from Mumbai.
My love for photography began in the early 80s when my dad gifted me a red film camera. I was down with chicken pox and was ironically in home-quarantine, but I enthusiastically photographed everything in sight. I had a turning point in my journey when I went on a tour to Masai Mara to photograph the Great Migration. It was there, in the vast open plains of Africa, that I got bitten by the photography bug and rediscovered my love for the medium.
I came to Zurich on a repatriation flight in August 2020. Having been confined in Mumbai under lockdown for months, coming to Switzerland felt surreal. After eight months of separation, I was finally able to be with my two teenage daughters who live a continent away.
This made me think of how bridging spatial distances plays such a crucial role in our lives. It gave me the inspiration for my new photo series titled ‘Mobility’.
Shot with the Leica M10R, Mobility is an exploration of commuting in the times of Corona. Be it by private means like car, cycle or scooter, or public transport like trams and trains, a large part of our everyday lives involves bridging distances, either between work and home or to visit those near and dear.
This parallel world of transit has its own social and cultural norms and shifting boundaries of private and public spheres. I look at the seamlessness and fluidity of commuting in Zurich during the current times, and my thoughts go back to my home city of Mumbai – where the daily commute is a challenge even in the best of times.