Junkyard

The gujari (Junkyard, in Kannada) in Mysore has been a fascinating subject of exploration ever since a classroom sketching assignment took me to this space. Years after, it was a nostalgic return to the space, the smell of grease and the places and corners where I once sat sketching – all seeming familiar still. This time, I was intent on attempting to explore the life in the junkyard through photographs and curious to meet the technical and artistic challenges of framing meaningfully amidst such a crowded environment.

As I began to visually understand and explore gujari, it became crucial for me to also learn to establish trust with the shopkeepers, workers, and children – the people in that space. In the course of interaction with the objects and the people of gujari, I discovered the natural order of life of the place as that of a close-knit community that constructed a livelihood from dismantling, reusing, reshaping and reselling. There’s a bustling life around these used objects- especially automobiles. Generations of businesses have found their excitement in taking automobiles apart, selecting and scheming a future for the good parts.

Every new automobile brings new scrap to the junkyard. In the evening, the place is all glitter – with the pieces of metal glowing in the yellow light – the only hour that the place gets electricity. While these automobiles and objects have a certain kind of life in the outside world, their end there brings them to this new life space.

This project seeks to capture the essence of a space such as gujari – a microcosm in itself that questions the notion of “junk” and sustains on principles of cooperation and recycling. The project also intends to dwell on these objects that occupy our daily lives and contemplate their existence outside, by exploring their interaction within the junkyard. The series of photographs will hopefully lead the viewer to reflect upon objects and their lifecycles and the existence of this parallel world in a society that is increasingly turning more consumerist.