VIEW FINDER M12
Laughter clubs/Yoga classes. Nisha Sondhe, left, says while people in Mumbai, above, and New York are known in their countries for being self-centered, when catastrophe hits you can feel the generosity as people band together
In the three years you have spent on your project, what
were the kind of challenges you faced?
Starting the project was easy for me because I lived in
New York and visited Bombay often. There were so many
places that were similar in the two cities that initially, I
could just walk around and photograph the cities myself. I
included my friends. I included my family.
As the project has matured I have
focused my attention on images
that are tougher to get. So, I’m
spending time getting permission
from government offices in both
cities and working with travel
bureaus to help me get access to
the places that need to be included
in the project.
Which of the two cities is easier to
Neither city is easier to shoot in.
Each city presents its own chal-
lenges. It’s easier to shoot my night
life images in New York City. Here,
people are completely uninhibited
about having their picture taken
doing what ever it is they are doing
when they’re out and about late at
night. In Mumbai, people can be a
little more conservative about their
Conversely, Mumbaikars don’t mind taking time in their
day to pose for a picture, inquire about the project or help
with permissions needed. New Yorkers are so busy during
the day that it can be harder to shoot daytime scenarios or
get access to places.
When and how do you plan to exhibit the project?
I’m working to get two gallery spaces, one in each city, to
show the first installation at the same time. I’ve talked to
some hotels and airlines about the possibility of sponsoring
the exhibit. As soon as we can nail down some spaces we
can show the first edit of the work.
What have the reactions to your project been so far?
The reaction from people in both cities has been overwhelmingly supportive. I have yet to have anyone tell me
that it’s a bad idea. I’ve heard from many people that the
concept is educational and bridge-building. Ultimately, the
project is about showing the similarities in the way people
live. So, I’ve been really happy with the enthusiastic reception the work has received.
What I love most of all are the suggestions I get. Taking
on the two greatest cities on the world all by yourself is no
easy task. Sometimes I overlook the most obvious of pairings. Recently someone asked me, ‘How come you don’t
have pizza? You gotta include pizza, it’s a story on New
York. They got pizza over in Bombay (sic)... alright then!’
How could I forget pizza?!
What would you say were your greatest lessons from this
The project initially started as a compare-and-contrast
series. What I’ve learned in the process of creating this
work is that New York and Bombay are the exact same city.
There really is no difference between them. Both are finan-
cial capitals for their countries. Both are made up islands
and bridges. A native New Yorker and a native Bombay-ite
both stick to their own neighborhoods for most of their
daily rituals outside of work. Both cities are filthy and
grimy and both are also fashionable and fabulous. Citizens
of both cities are known in their countries for being the
most callous and self-centered people, but when catastro-
phe hits you can feel the generosity and concern as people
band together to help each other out.
For more images, please see M6-M7
Also, visit Nishasondhe.com