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For Dipti Desai, the old, decrepit bazaar in Cochin, India, is all at once a source of employment, shelter, and inspiration. The desire to document the bazaar was instinctual, “a certain homecoming,” Desai says. “Sometimes you want to be a storyteller, sometimes you want to translate an experience into images de- pending on how much you sink into the moment, and sometimes you are driven with a cause.” For the project ‘Bazaar,’ Desai has no message to impose through her photography, instead focusing on her personal experience with the language, subtle nuances, and culture of the community. “I believe I was more present as a person than as a photographer during this project,” she says. “The project itself was a conversation; talking [to my subjects] about their families and jobs, and listening to their stories was what led to this.” A bazaar is a mystical place of trade, religion, and ideas, immortalized in popular culture by movies like Disney’s Aladdin. Desai shows the melancholy that is left behind when such a bazaar dies, “leaving behind the ghost of the thriving place of trade it once was.”


- Robin Lam


56 I


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