2023 — Calcutta, India
About this series
Desi Boys is about the unique phenomenon of sartorial choices and grassroots hip-hop movement that have helped disenfranchised youth find outlet and a voice despite crippling odds in a country like India with rampant class and caste based tensions, xenophobia and vast income disparities.
This youth movement is fueled by the democratization of smartphones and 3G/4G internet in the country along with the boom in app-based service marketplaces that connect customers to service professionals, leading to a sudden demand for jobs for the economically marginalized youth. This empowers them with a sizable disposable income, which helps them to indulge in fashion and music.
The series points to the complexities of the caste system/economic inequality and how subcultures flourish in these cracks while also aiming to become a vital documentation forming the wider global archive of lesser seen depictions of elements of Brownness by a South Asian like me in these present times.
Based in Calcutta, Soham Gupta’s work constantly moves between the realm of documentary photography, art and the written word. He responds to themes of loneliness and isolation, of abuse and pain, of scarred pasts and uncertain futures, sexual tensions and existential dilemmas.
In 2018, Soham was selected by The British Journal of Photography as one of sixteen emerging photographers from more than 500 nominations made by a global panel of experts. In the same year, his book, « Angst » published by Akina Books was shortlisted for the Les Prix du Livre: Photo and Text Book Award at Les Rencontres d’Arles and the Paris Photo – Aperture Foundation First Photobook Award.
He was one of the invited artists participating at the 58th La Biennale di Venezia curated by Ralph Rugoff in 2019. In the same year, Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany acquired a major number of prints from the series, « Angst » which in 2021 were in an active and multifaceted dialogue with the work of Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Irving Penn – Soham’s spiritual predecessors.
Soham was recently part of a group exhibition, After August Sander at MGK Siegen, Germany along with Collier Schorr, Tobias Zielony amongst 13 artists. From 28th January 2022 to 2nd June 2022, he also had his first solo show in France with more than hundred prints at the Maison Robert Doisneau.
In 2023, Villa Perochon exhibited Desi Boys in Niort. Presently, Gupta is looking for a publisher for this new work.