When we lie down, grasses grow from us

Karolina Gembara


In 2009 Karolina Gembara moved to Delhi to learn photography and stayed for seven years. When we lie down, grasses grow from us, comprises photographs taken during this period, as Gembara developed a love/hate relationship with the city, borne out of a combination of fascination, homesickness and a feeling of transience.

During her time in the city, Gembara moved around frequently and found it difficult to establish a home, or a place where she felt truly comfortable. She met many in a similar position – housing was temporary and even romantic relationships were somehow superficial and makeshift.

“The pictures I took during those years speak about that craving for comfort in the big city, and the loneliness that accompanied us every day. They also reveal my own need for a home and an attempt to create one.”

Gembara was never comfortable taking photographs on the street and so, over time, cultivated her own visual language – one which prevented her from being a mere onlooker. She turned both to friends and people she could identify with, and to those with whom she could talk. She began to search for the quiet, isolated moments she shared with her subjects in a city where peace is scarce. As a result, the reflective tone of the images in the book is the antithesis of the imagery associated with outsiders to Delhi, and show a contemplative and tender view of the city. Their sentiment is a universal one, shared by many who live in cities far from home and try to build comfort around them.

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