A story of devotion in a rural Pennsylvania town



reading time: 5 Minutes

Vikesh Kapoor’s mother gave birth to more than 3000 Children throughout her career as an obstetrician and gynecologist in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. The new artist series commissioned by Ica, in association with 1854, meditates on this history.

An unexpected installation in the parking lot of a library in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. A shimmering sari hangs across the back of a makeshift photo studio: bursts of color punctuate an unremarkable patch of gray. Different people pass. An emergency medical technician officer arrives, posing for a photo in front of a burnt orange saree. Later, two brothers sat down to take a picture – an intricate area of ​​cloth embroidered with golden petals extending from behind them. Standing next to the camera, multidisciplinary artist Vikesh Kapoor shares and relives his subjects. To an outsider, the setting might seem random. However, it is far from that. Kapoor’s mother, a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, has helped many people deliver their babies. And the remaining morons were once those same children – the one-sided portraits of a new project expressing the artist’s devotion to his mother, Sarla Kapoor, and her commitment to her profession.

1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

‘She was dedicated to her work’

-Vikesh Kapoor

“She devoted herself to her work,” Kapoor says of his mother, who gave birth to more than 3,000 children while working in a rural Pennsylvania town. However, Lock Haven hasn’t always been her home. Sarla immigrated to the United States from India in 1971 (with his father, who is now a retired physician), initially settling in New York before moving to Pennsylvania. first artist project, I will see you at home, responds to this date. Watching his parents, Kapoor examines the loss and isolation that immigrants may experience as they age in a non-native culture. His new project continues this family thread. Commissioned by Leica, in collaboration with 1854, Kapoor created the work in response to the theme Witnesses of worship Celebrating his mother and her profession. Pictures of Kapoor working entirely on Leica gear,”I had the pleasure of working with the Leica SL2 and the accompanying lenses for this panel. I usually use handheld rangefinders, but for this project I used the camera’s LCD monitor along with a tripod when composing my photos. This process allowed me to freely interact with my subjects when photographing this set of images, rather than hiding behind a tiny viewfinder.

Kapoor was not always a photographer. He started as a musician, and released his first album, Willie Robbins song in 2013. However, his mother’s health overshadowed his success: the day after the record was released, Sarla (Retired in 2011) underwent heart surgery. “In between rounds, I would visit her in the hospital,” he recalls. “Her recovery has been difficult.” The situation prompted Kapoor to think about the sacrifices she had made for him and the love and support she had given throughout his life. His pictorial practice, in particular I will see you at home, Developed from this period of reflection. However, while that initial series involved both parents, Kapoor’s current work is a tribute to his mother alone.

In fact, every element of the multi-layered project embodies it. The pictures painted in the parking lot reflect the cork boards and albums full of pictures Kapoor remembers decorating Sarla office. “I knew I wanted to make portraits of people [she delivered],” he says. “When I was a child, I visited my country Illiterate An office after school, there were all those cork boards in the waiting room and albums on the coffee table full of pictures of the kids.” Most of the original photos were lost. Kapoor’s father retrieved a small envelope from the pantry, and asked his mother around, several people sent more. These features appear in The series along with contemporary iterations of Kapoor created in the parking lot of the local library. For these, the artist contacted the local newspaper, asking for help in tracking down the individuals his mother had dropped off. The post published a front-page feature – “It meant a lot to my mom.” she started crying When I read that.”

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1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

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1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

In fact, each element of the multi-layered project embodies it. The pictures painted in the parking lot reflect the cork boards and albums full of pictures Kapoor remembers decorating Sarla office. “I knew I wanted to make portraits of people [she delivered],” he says. “When I was a child, I visited my country Illiterate An office after school, there were all those cork boards in the waiting room and albums on the coffee table full of pictures of the kids.” Most of the original photos were lost. Kapoor’s father retrieved a small envelope from the pantry, and asked his mother around, several people sent more. These features appear in The series along with contemporary iterations of Kapoor created in the parking lot of the local library. For these, the artist contacted the local newspaper, asking for help in tracking down the individuals his mother had dropped off. The post published a front-page feature – “It meant a lot to my mom.” she started crying When I read that.”

1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

“My dad gave her one of the [the saris] When they got married for the first time. Another is the sari she wore when she officially became a doctor.”

– Vikesh Kapoor

1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

1854 × Leica – Witnesses: Loyalty © Vikesh Kapoor 2021

There is only one picture of Kapoor’s mother in the series. She was elegantly dressed – an ornate scarf hanging gracefully around her neck. She looks pensively into the distance. “I wanted there to be one picture of my mum and treat it differently,” he says. However, she is also present, if subtly, in each of Kapoor’s new photos: her sari provides the backdrops for every photo; Flashes of color amid the dull exterior of the parking lot. “I would like to say [my subjects] I brought a set of my mom’s saris and asked them to pick some that speak to them,” Kapoor says. “Then I’ll narrow them down based on the aesthetics of what they were wearing and how they looked in photographs from their childhood.” The sari is not only aesthetic. they symbolize Kapoor’s mother’s roots too. “Although she assimilated into society and wore American clothes when she was working, she came from India,” contact kapoor. The sari is a reminder of that, and each one is a symbol of a moment in its history. “My parents gave her one of them when they got married for the first time,” Kapoor continues. “Another is the sari she wore when she officially became a doctor.”

The work is not political. However, it is impossible not to view it in the context of a post-Trump America where anti-immigrant sentiment has amplified. Indeed, when viewed through this lens, the series is a reminder that the United States is, after all, a nation of immigrants – individuals like Kapoor’s parents who, in myriad ways, have been, and still are, dedicated to nation-building.

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Find out more about the group:
Leica SL2
APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH
APO-Summicron-SL 1: 2/28 ASPH
Noctilux 50

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The publication A Story of Devotion in a rural Pennsylvania town first appeared in 1854 photographic.





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