Sunil Gupta over 45 years of images

“I went to the movies and that was my big business growing up in India. You know, Bollywood with the big, colorful, singing and dancing blockbusters. I think that was my visual reference, ”photographer Sunil Gupta told CR. “There was a camera in the family and I think with cinema, even though I couldn't do a cinema, I saw that there was something like seeing through a camera lens and was interested in still images as a kind of substitute for poor people Men make up for movies. That's how I set off. "

Gupta has been creating images for almost 50 years and a new exhibition at London's Photographers & # 39; Gallery, From Here to Eternity, brings together 16 separate series in the first British retrospective of his work. “The process was a lot of fun. It was actually several years ago. So we had a lot of time to decide exactly which pieces from which series would end up in it, ”says Gupta. “It was interesting to work so closely with a curator because he always brings his own point of view and his own knowledge into this process. I'm someone who really welcomes it, I don't feel very possessive. It doesn't have to be all up to me, I feel more responsible for creating the source material, and then each iteration and exhibition is always different from the next. "

Above: Untitled # 13, 2008, from the series The New Pre-Raphaelites. Above: Untitled No. 22, 1976, from the Christopher Street series. All images courtesy of the artist and the Hales Gallery, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Vadehra Art Gallery, © Sunil Gupta

The source material Gupta speaks of is extensive and varied, offering both an insight into the photographer's life and an archive of key moments in the history of gay rights. His first real taste for photography was when he arrived in Montreal, Canada Concordia University in 1970, shortly after the New York Stonewall Riots. Gupta was fully immersed in university life and it was the first time that he could openly embrace his sexuality. "I joined the first emerging groups of the Gay Liberation Movement on campus. We did a lot of things, one of which was running a newspaper, like a little tabloid, and she needed pictures. I volunteered to be the person who produced the images. It was great, ”he recalls. “I had a topic straight away, the newsletter was full of articles about where to go out, demonstrations that were going on, and sometimes there was real news. I suddenly had an audience because then they would print (my pictures) and people would see them and I had my name in the newspaper with a picture credit, which was very exciting. "