For this project, Cop Shiva documents his interactions with Vidyasagar, a resident of Bangalore who dresses up daily as the Tamil film icon and politician M.G.Ramachandran who had an overpowering influence on the politics and cinema of Southern India. This manipulation of identity through disguise and emulation becomes a comment on the overwhelming influence of cinema in the socio-cultural context of Southern India and with this series he attempt to look at the polarity between reality and fantasy. These intimate portraits were staged in Vidyasagar’s home where the photographer was able to in his words, ‘hopefully capture the vulnerability, warmth and acceptance of my character, Vidyasagar.’
I Love MGR:
Cop Shiva (Shivaraju B.S.), is a documentary photographer. He started his photography career by being a part of an alternative art collective called 1.SHANHTIROAD STUDIO/GALLERY. As a coordinator of this space, he met many local photographers and artists, from India and abroad, which enriched his art practice.
Cop Shiva started to document the complexity of rural and urban India. He focuses on people and portraiture as a genre. He is fascinated with the idea of masquerade and the roles people play in public and private. One of the most acclaimed projects involved documenting the life of a rural school teacher, named Bagadehalli Basavaraj, as a Gandhi impersonator. This project has evolved to include a broader reached, that is to look at Gandhi’s ideals in contemporary India.
Moreover, Cop Shiva’s portfolio includes a series of intimate portraits of urban migrants, people of alternative sexuality, street performers and others living in the hinterland of urban and rural conflict. Shiva continues to capture the diversity of humans who live on the edge and represent the spirit of our times.
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