Dr Carlo Caduff’s ethnographic study of cancer in India
Pain moves in and out of the picture. But where exactly is it? It seems to hover between a question: Whose pain is it? Why is it happening to me? and an assertion: It’s mine. It’s happening to me.
There is a kindness and generosity in all the pictures, as if each of the twenty-four stills would like to tell us: “This is how it is. It’s still me. I’m still here.”
Twenty-Four Stills is a photographic exhibition documenting patients, family members and hospital staff in a cancer center in Kolkata, India. For this exhibition, Soumyendra Saha produced a series of intimate portraits of people in a state of suspension. Many of the cancer patients represented in the exhibition are struggling to survive, but they’re not shown struggling; they’re shown waiting, thinking, reading, watching.
In his portraits, Saha presents us with people in silence and solitude, absorbed in thoughts and feelings that are not immediately accessible to us. In almost all pictures, eyes are in the foreground: open eyes, closed eyes, hidden eyes. Showing images of eyes, the photographer reminds us that it’s not eyes but images that make us see.
Department of Global Health & Social Medicine
Tata Medical Center Kolkata