Seeing the unseen

This exhibition has captured the struggles of people living on the fringes of society with photographs so powerful you will feel connected with their reality

Shiju Basheer’s photographs narrate their own stories — capturing the struggles of people from across the world, his collection is set to be exhibited in a series titled Unscripted Lives. Basheer began his journey in the field of photography in 2005. He worked as a freelance documentary maker in Dubai for 15 years, which took him to several places across the world. “I like to travel extensively and was lucky enough to traverse India and several countries across Asia such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal and some in Europe, Middle East and Africa,” says Basheer.

As a self-trained photographer, he draws inspiration from moments of innocence, and sheer beauty and at times even the harsh realities of life. “Some faces evoke pain, solitude and emptiness. Such rare moments always compel me to capture and preserve their uniqueness.”

With 40 such pictures, the title of the exhibition — Unscripted Lives — aims to draw attention to the forgotten souls around the world and their lives that depict the invincible determination to struggle and survive against all odds. “A picture normally invokes feelings, but it’s your own feelings which often give depth to what you are watching. There are many things in life that catch your eyes but only a few will catch your heart,” he says.

Every photograph has several stories behind it. “Usually I choose pain, agony, helplessness and solitude as my favourite subjects,” Basheer explains. This can be seen in most of the shots of the faces he has captured. The eyes seem to be telling the viewers their life stories — tales of struggle and tragedy.

Currently working as a photojournalist in Kerala, Basheer has always felt an intense desire to unravel the hidden stories of the world. Unscripted Lives has also been published as a coffee table book. He is planning on publishing another book Stolen Faces and Countless Tales, by the end of this year.

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