India Through its Drying Clothes

Somewhere between Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur

India Through its Drying Clothes

Photographer Karan Khosla takes a unique angle to look at India. What does it mean to explore the country through the mundane act of drying clothes? In each and every corner of India and the world, clothes are washed and put out for open air. Some clothes would have the fortune of lying on fancy racks, some would scooch on a thin rope and others are given the support of a chair. In all of these situations, something very intimate to all of us lies in the open and becomes a representation of the kind of world one inhabits.

India Through its Drying Clothes  Goalposts in Rural Bengal

Goalposts in Rural Bengal

In a country where clothes are highly political, the act of drying them can also depict the various geographical, social, and economic strata of India. Khosla’s exhibition Where India Dries Its Clothes at Method showcases the everyday beauty of India through the unconventional lens of clotheslines. From clothes that enjoy the wind on a goalpost in rural Bengal and the ones coming to life on the boundaries of a Ghat in Banaras to the bedsheets that face the harsh sun on the cemented walls of a home in Rajasthan and the ones drying amidst forest fires in Mayurbhanj in Odisha, Khosla indicates that every drying cloth has a story to tell.  

India Through its Drying Clothes  Amidst forest fires, Mayurbhanj, Odisha

Amidst forest fires, Mayurbhanj, Odisha

He reflects on the genesis of the project on a call with us. He has a lifelong affinity for travel, noting that his journey into photography was an evolution from his previous career as a writer. Despite not having formal photography training, Khosla's background as a writer continues to influence his work. "I can't separate thinking about narrative and shooting anymore," he mused. This fusion of storytelling and visual imagery adds depth to his compositions, offering viewers a multifaceted perspective.

India Through its Drying Clothes  A ghat in Banaras

A ghat in Banaras

When asked about the project's underlying narrative, Khosla emphasized his intention to challenge stereotypical portrayals of India. "I want to showcase the beauty of everyday life and highlight the common threads that unite us," he remarked. Through his lens, Khosla aims to celebrate the diversity of the Indian populace.

 

India Through its Drying Clothes  Scorching Summer in Mumbai

Scorching Summer in Mumbai

The idea for Where India Dries Its Clothes emerged gradually as Khosla traversed the country, noticing a recurring motif in his photography—clotheslines. “It was sometime in 2018 or 2019 when I realized I was capturing a lot of drying clothes wherever I was going for work" Khosla recalled. "There wasn't a master plan to begin with but I've always been drawn to movement and diverse experiences.”

As he delved deeper into photography, Khosla found himself challenging the conventional narratives often associated with documenting India. "The way I shoot the world and especially India right now is with a lot more care," Khosla emphasized. "I try as much as possible to be non-intrusive and capture the moment with respect”, focusing on the broader scenery rather than individual faces. "India is my favorite country to travel in," Khosla declared. "There's so much to see, and I hope that some of it translates to the viewers—that they can see the beauty and the kindness of the people."

 

India Through its Drying Clothes  Fireflies in the mountains

Fireflies in the mountains

Looking ahead, Khosla envisions expanding the project through additional shows and turning his these drying clothes pictures into a book. However, he remains committed to his broader goal of celebrating the beauty of ordinary life, whether through clotheslines. ”Every time I'm shooting, I'm thinking about how to expand the project," Khosla shared. "I want to find new ways to incorporate clotheslines and showcase the parts of India."

For Khosla, photography is more than just a profession—it's a means of capturing the essence of his beloved country and sharing it with the world. As visitors immerse themselves in his exhibition, they're invited to see India through a new lens—one that celebrates the mundane yet extraordinary moments that define its essence.

India Through its Drying Clothes  Bidar, Karnataka

Bidar, Karnataka

Words Paridhi Badgotri
Date 10.06.2024