By Suchita S.
Vicky Roy’s story isn’t one of rags to fame, or poor kid breaks free from social confines and enters rich man world.
It would be gross negligence to reduce his work to that.
Sure, he’s had a humbling beginning. His folks, extremely poor and unable to look after him, left him to the care of his grandparents when he was about 3 years old. Sick of the confines of his grandparents home, he stole 1100 rupees from his mama and boarded a train, which brought him straight to Delhi. He did odd jobs at the railway station to make a quick buck or two; and on a friends recommendation, he decided to leave the streets and found a home in Salaam Balak Trust. Here, he was introduced to British photographer Dixie Benjamin, who then was shooting a documentary on SBT. Dixie asked Vicky to assist him on a shoot, and the rest as they say, was history in the making. Studies and academics weren’t his forte; Drawn to the camera and photography as a way to explore the streets, he used the medium to capture life as he’d lived it. He says “I felt it would help me roam around.”
He’s worked under the guidance of famous portrait-specialist photographer, Anay Mann, as an assistant. His exhibit, ‘Street Dreams’, was showcased at India Habitat Center in 2007. He’s dined with Prince Edward at Buckingham Palace, exhibited with Pakistani and Bangladeshi photographers at Whitechapel Gallery, and has been selected to shoot the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre. Vicky is among the chosen four participants, and the only one from South Asia. Moreover, he’s used his experience and learnings to start ‘Rang‘, an organization and community that supports and works with young, independent artists. His work, primarily focussed on street photography, is astounding and hauntingly descriptive. What is endearing to see is that he depicts life on the street with consciousness and sensitivity – his understanding of the subject, given the time he spent as a street kid in his formative years, is what makes his photographs real. He’s the street photographer with a conscience.
As a part of Delhi Photo Fest this year, Nazar Foundation will be launching Vicky’s book ‘Home. Street. Home.’ Preorders have begun! And yes, we’ve made sure we’re on that list.