“3 Nuns Crossing the Street, VT Station, Mumbai” by Apeksha Agarwal.
Description: Three nuns crossing the street outside Mumbai’s busiest train station. While the entire city stands still during the COVID-19 lockdown, the movement in this image suggests that time doesn’t stop for anyone.
Artist Statement: The Indian city of Mumbai is a chaotic, visually dense world that has been in constant motion since time immemorial. When the global COVID-19 pandemic caused a national lockdown, all that activity stopped. A city in which it had been nearly impossible to find views unobstructed or unoccupied by people, was suddenly empty, silent, and left visible as if for the first time.
These circumstances allowed me to depict an urban India without the human element that always defines it in photographs. For the first time, because of this depopulation, I could create images of my native environment that were not, about a specific moment. I was reminded of Eugène Atget’s late 19th- and early 20th-century documentary photographs of Paris, often taken in the first hours of the day. When I was out shooting, I felt like the proverbial flâneur, that untranslatable French word for a strolling, detached observer.