18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Grey Area Photogram No. 4

Grey Area: Ten years ago I moved to Calgary from India, where, like virtually every country around the world, large populations live in cities built of concrete. This insidious substance has shaped the contours of cities as diverse as Mumbai, Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo and Moscow. But for the inhabitants of these dense urban places, for whom daily life revolves around the same familiar streets and structures, the vegetation that crops up in and around the margins of buildings and sidewalks offers visual relief and mental respite from the great grey mazes we occupy. Locked down, sheltering in place like so many in the time of a worldwide pandemic, the restrictions of my own movement—day after day, week after week, month after month—inspired a series on observation: an intensification of the contrast between the built environment and nature (if it can still be called that), and where people fit. In Grey Area, occasional color photographs of a garden at nighttime surprise the visitor as she follows the succession of photograms of vegetation against concrete. The surreal quality of the almost black-and-white photograms is magnified against the dream-like effect of the flowers’ colors in the blackness of night. Taken in its totality it is an expression of that psychological grey area we navigate as we do our cityscapes.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Copyright: © Twinkle Banerjee