Soham Gupta (India, 1988) made portraits of people that he encountered in the streets of Calcutta. Looking at their faces leaves a certain kind of discomfort. Yet, at the same time – credit to the photographer – it is also tempting to stare at them, not completely without a shameless curiosity.
All these portraits together function as the reflection of a certain ‘angst’. That is, an existential fear, a nightmarish anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition. For Gupta, in particular, this ‘angst’ arrives from a troubled growing-up; basically years spent trying to come to terms with demands and (aggressive) expectations as arriving from his social environment. Or, in his own words: “Deep within ‘Angst’ runs my anger, my frustrations, my hatred for a world in which there is no place for the weak, where weaklings are left to rot.”
Ultimately, however, this series resulted in a testimony. That is, it should be considered as an acknowledgement of those among us who somehow try to survive in a dark and gloomy hellhole that serves as the twilight zone of our everyday existence.