The world today is changing at a pace unparalleled in human history and the human condition throughout the world is getting re-defined by the constantly shifting social, political and economic forces. My work investigates this continuously evolving world-order through explorations of natural and built environments and their interrelationship. I am particularly drawn towards certain transient zones within urban environments, where the dualities of chaos and order, death and revitalization, and spectacular and banal constantly refer to our transforming world, both physically and metaphorically.
I have been working on this project since 2004, when I started making typological studies of street views in several western European cities. I was primarily interested in studying the city’s condition based on factors like post-WW II planning, rational order, standardization & urban segregation. I was also intrigued by the significant presence of urban-voids within the city fabric of these cities, and how these often overlooked pockets of wasteland mirrored the alienation & vulnerability of our society.
In 2005, I went to India with the objective of continuing with the project, but on the streets of New Delhi, my patiently formulated notions of urban form & dynamics quickly faded away as I was greeted by a densely hanging smog, meticulously disorganized traffic and little urban demarcation in terms of land use, and somewhat friendly street cows. In spite of being born and raised in India, I had a hard time negotiating through the city I had known so well. One thing that stood out clearly was that the city was growing phenomenally and the harmony between city’s form and surrounding landscape was being constantly compromised by massive suburbanization, migrant influx and heightened public consumption; an indelible stamp of growth, for better or worse.
Later that year, during my residency at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, I started photographing in the Central & Western New York, with specific references to the industrial townships that flourished during the “manufacturing” based economic boom in the sixties, but are now challenged by the closure of industry, outsourcing of jobs, out-flux of younger population, and urban and social planning failures.
Rishi Singhal (New Delhi, India) is a photographer born and currently based in New Delhi, India. He received an MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University in 2006. His work has been exhibited internationally and he has received grants and honors from SUNY College at Brockport, Syracuse University, & Light Work. Singhal has lectured about his work at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, CEPT University, and as part of the 2003 Society for Photographic Education National Convention. Singhal was an Artist-in-Residence at CPW in 2006.