Mahesh Shantaram: Matrimania
“All that is great about a country and all that is wrong with it can be summarised by a single wedding,” says Indian photographer Mahesh Shantaram (born 1977). In his documentary work, he mostly studies the complex societal system of his home country. Working as a wedding photographer, he has had privileged access to a cross-section of celebrations of the Indian upper- and middle-class societies. Young adults assume the role of princes and princesses in a Bollywood-like fantasy often choreographed by their parents. On the periphery, a multitude of workers entertain crowds, cater to thousands of guests, and keep the show going on for days. Using images culled from over 150 weddings and created in the course of six years, Matrimania constructs a fictional narrative—an alternative wedding album—that depicts one long wedding night in India. Matrimania is a personal take on 21st-century India’s contradictions seen through the prism of its wedding culture.
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