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Portraying Mumbai’s Buildings | Alicja Dobrucka’s Photography
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Portraying Mumbai’s Buildings | Alicja Dobrucka’s Photography

Picture of Sophia Francis
Updated: 29 January 2016
Polish-born fine art photographer Alicja Dobrucka lives and works in London, and her photography presents the best of culture in many different cities. Whilst working in Poland, she developed her unique photographic methods and techniques to capture enthralling images. Her most recent series ‘Life is on a New High’ is an exploration of the stark issues that surround building work in Mumbai.

Dobrucka’s fascination with cultural identity is often reflected in her work and she is interested in the ways in which architecture reflects the culture of a place or city. Aiming for thought-provoking images that portray her experiences of culture, her photography certainly makes the viewer think about its content. Her work has received critical acclaim and has been exhibited in London, Budapest and Australia.

A project that endeavors to contemplate the issue of unregulated building in Mumbai, ‘Life is on a New High’ portrays the exteriors of new towers, and juxtaposes these with the slums and settlements surrounding them. Lying at the heart of these juxtapositions is the notion that no planning currently exists for the new buildings that spring up across the city and many issues surround the concept of random building work.

Although residential and, on the surface, an indication of economic affluence, the clear contrast between the slums and the high-rise buildings points to an inconsistency in terms of Mumbai’s wealth. This, alongside the hazards to the environment, makes for fascinating photography that explores a pressing and important issue.

Dobrucka’s images succinctly capture the inherent problems of class divide, environmental threat and economical inconsistency in the capital. With a range of mid and long shots that portray both the inset windows dotted about the edifices of the towers and the small settlements that are clustered together below, the photography is captivating.

On the interiors of the towers we are presented with plush, lavish décor and furniture, portraits and artwork, chairs and opulent-looking chandeliers, whilst in other images our eyes behold a sea of flat rooftops that belong to the slums below. This clever photography gets to the crux of the important issue of inequality in Mumbai.