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Debmalya Ray Choudhuri Photographs His Search For Home In India

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“To question the darkness, but at the same time to not give up on looking for the light.” This is the philosophical premise behind New York-based Indian photographer Debmalya Ray Choudhuri’s personal series, ‘Tat Tvam Asi’; an exploration of self in the foothills of the Himalayas.

After a prolonged period of sickness, the trauma of losing a close friend, and the psychological toll of escalating violence and chaos in his hometown, Kolkata, Choudhuri travelled to Rishikesh; a city on the Ganges River in northern India. Rishikesh is a spiritual city widely considered the yoga and meditation capital of the world, where “broken hearts, lost souls, and dreamers alike” all relocate to. The series title takes is drawn from the Sanskrit phrase “Tat Tvan Asi”, meaning “that you are” in English—which Choudhuri explains “essentially connects us to a sense of being, a sense of the self, of who we are”. It relates to Choudhuri’s search for identity and belonging, and the importance of questioning the concept of home. “What exactly is Home?”, the photographer asked. “Can any place far away from where I live define my ‘home’?” Choudhuri’s expression of vulnerability is powerful, and reflected in his beautiful and poignant photographs. After six months in Rishikesh, Choudhuri began to see the light. “I started reacting to every detail of life and nature around me. I am there, distant from the reality of a past. I am there, all by myself in a world of my own. My Home.”

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All images © Debmalya Ray Choudhuri