Old colonial houses stand in the shade of tall towers. Sprawling networks of shanties surround swanky high-rises. Tiny, dingy shops are dwarfed by luminescent billboards. Clichéd as it may sound, Mumbai was and remains a city of contrasts – a city where poverty and affluence, the old and the new, the glitzy and the ramshackle, constantly jostle for space next to each other.
It is these contrasts, inextricable parts of the city’s fabric, that figure prominently in the photos selected this year by the Mumbai Press Club as the winning entries for their annual photography competition. Featuring the works of 12 city photographers, the images vividly capture the diverse hues of Mumbai. From a female acrobat of the Cirque du Soleil dangling from the pole of a stage-light to a larger-than-life Ganesha idol being transported through a street, these 13 images depict a city that is perpetually on the move.
Gurbir Singh, president of the Mumbai Press Club, said this year’s submissions stand out because they aptly capture the oddities of the city. “The photograph of a couple embracing on the filthy Juhu Chowpatty beach represents what a Mumbaikar regularly goes through,” he said.
The 13 photographs will be part of the Mumbai Moments 2019 desktop calendar, a tradition that goes back to 2000. “This is probably the last year we’re bringing out a desktop calendar,” said Singh. “It is a thing of the past. From next year, we’ll move to a new form, probably a wall calendar, which is coming back and gives more visibility.” Initially, around 4,000 copies of the calendar will be circulated across offices in the city.
The themes for the competition have ranged from Ganesh Chaturthi and dahi handi, to the romance of the Mumbai rains and glimpses of the city’s temperate winters. Occasionally though, Singh says, the photographs have been disturbing – “A few years ago, we received a photograph of a man [found hanging from the] Byculla bridge”. While calling for entries this year, candidates were specifically asked to refrain from sending in “gory and disturbing” images.
The calendar will officially be launched in the third week of December. The photographs will also be exhibited at the Mumbai Press Club for a couple of weeks.