A collaborative project that was inspired by the opening scene in Jean Luc-Godard’s Le Mépris and the Billie Holiday song, I’ll be Seeing You is a photobook I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you created by the artist couple Hari Katragadda and Shweta Upadhyay. To reflect on their registers of love, Katragadda mainly contributed as a photographer whereas Upadhyay as a writer. In their oeuvre, they both use references to poetry and cinema where in the case of their joint photobook, they strive to capture loves lost and a longing for the reawakening of love.i
Katragadda photographed Upadhyay in various domestic situations and states of mind prior to and after their move from Delhi to Bombay. They believed that they have exhausted all their possibilities in Delhi and hoped for a new start, however when they arrived in Bombay, for months they were trapped by rain. This circumstance allowed for moments of deep contemplation about the materials Katragadda has produced. He came to the conclusion that he prefers to use Upadhyay’s images in a universal way to reflect upon registers of love instead of them becoming mere personal accounts.
Seemingly moved by Le Mépris, his obsession became Upadhyay’s body parts, and especially how they can refract desire and our experience of the world. Through this framework, the duo edited the book in a way that the images are in direct dialogue with each other, addressing the intricacies of intimacy, alienation in a new city, and the apparitions of past lovers. The real and the subconscious images intertwine with internal states and anxieties…
I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you is enclosed in a black box with a full moon painted with a glow-in-the-dark ink on the cover, identical to the book itself which is beautifully bound with a red thread – a repeating element in the book, tying all the materials together. The artists’ direct interventions in the publication are apparent, be it in the form of diaristic and poetic texts or hand-made elements. They apply the techniques of embroidery, mark-making, and erasure to emphasize the complexities of the self and relationships. Such additional layers mark the artists’ presence within the pages where the protagonist, Upadhyay herself, appears and disappears simultaneously throughout the book. She is taking charge of her narrative that touches upon secrets, lies, and suppressed memories.
The tactile photo essay can be read page by page or simultaneously when folded into a Leporello. Sepia tones are combined with black and white and occasionally colour imagery, contributing to a dreamy atmosphere and full immersion into the narrative. Through their way of using inserts and different layers in the publication, it almost becomes a spiritual experience to flip between the pages. There is a repeating symbol of the moon mirroring human desire and particularly that for one another. Inside, one can find an alluring symbiosis of text and image where the supernatural, mystery, and imagination culminates through the subtle aesthetics of gothic romance.
s a visual artist whose work explores communities, environment and personal memories using photography, text, drawings and references from cinema and poetry. His documentary work with Cyanotypes on the Ganga river pollution received the Invisible Photographer Asia Art Award in 2018.
is a writer and an artist who works with photographs. She employs erasure and defacement using text and fragments from her personal diary, and includes references from poetry, literature and cinema. She works as the Assistant Editor of ART India magazine.
I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you is available for purchase here.