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Indian repository of tales, thousand words at a time
NIDHI GUPTA  15th Dec 2012

From Balaji Maheshwar’s ‘It’s Time to Tell the Truth’

That a picture is worth a thousand words is a foregone conclusion. Photographs have become the mainstay of any journalistic endeavour — every narrative remains incomplete without visuals. Photo essays, which let images do most of the talking, are finding a special platform, thanks to websites such as Galli Magazine, an online space for photographers to showcase their work.

Started by independent documentary and editorial photographer Harsha Vadlamani, Galli is "a repository of photo stories from India, made possible by generous contributions from established and emerging photographers from across the world." Although they don't pay for publishing the visual narratives yet, it is clear from the volume of published essays that this isn't really a deterrent.

From the first essay published in August, 2011, Srinivas Kuruganti's 'Orissa', the website has come a long way, with hundreds of visual narratives, each of which deals with a unique topic. Every essay is a world in its own, some showcasing stark realities against staid, everyday backgrounds, while others uncovering truths partially, or worse, never told. Yet others are personal journeys re-visiting popular tropes. The imag--es themselves — black & white, technicolour, photoshopped, pixellated, grainy, and all other sorts — are vivid insights into an India we would not otherwise be privy to.

Exceptional amongst these are Senthil Kumaran's 'The Brides of Aravan', which takes us on a joyride through the famous transgender district of Tamil Nadu; Neeraj Mahajan's 'Sinners', zooming in on the Maha Kumbh Mela, 'It's Time to Tell the Truth' by Balaji Maheshwar, which investigates the firecracker capital and its residents; and Akshay Mahajan's 'No Time for Love, in Srinagar', which looks at how the Kashmiri youth survives.

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