Originally from West Bengal, Vicky Roy ran away from his home and started working as a rag picker at the New Delhi Railway Station, before he was rehabilitated by the Salaam Baalak Trust, Delhi. He studied photography at Triveni Kala Sangam and then apprenticed under Anay Mann. In 2007, he held his first solo exhibition titled, “Street Dream” at India Habitat Centre; supported by the British High Commisson.
In 2008 he was selected by the US based Maybach Foundation to photo document the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in New York. As part of the program, he undertook a course in documentary photography at the International Center for Photography, New York.
His first monograph ‘Home Street Home’ published by the Nazar Foundation released at the second edition of the Delhi Photo Festival (Sept-Oct, 2013) and he was awarded the MIT Media Fellowship in 2014. He was a part of the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 list in 2016.
1. Street Dreams
Vicky captures street children conducting their daily activities at train stations in “Street Dreams.” Vicky knows how tough the street life is, yet his lens focuses on capturing the shining optimism and dreams of the children.
On the project, Vicky says, “I started photographing these children in 2005 hoping to capture their spirit along with their circumstances, to be honest, these children also remind me of my difficult past. My aim is to show the positive aspects of life instead of the darker side. If I could come out of the difficulties and become successful, I believe anyone could do it.”
2. Scarred Land
This Scarred Land reflects the changing landscape of the Himachal Pradesh mountain ranges. His stark depictions go by a vast range and cover the stunningly beautiful and sacred ruins of the colonial outpost to the Nehru-era industrial projects.
On this project, Vicky Says, “The images capture the losing battle between the trees, rocks, rivers, and other constitutive elements of the landscape with industrial invasion through the intervention of another powerful technology — the still camera, I do not aim to shock the viewers or push them to look at the reality by painting a bleak picture of despair through my work. Instead of confrontation, I try to portray the realities of life in a sublime way”
3. WTC – 2009
In 2009, Vicky documented the reconstruction of the World Trade Center (WTC). WTC is the face most likely one of the most crucial moments in modern history. And yet, behind this face, there are thousand who remain faceless – The construction builders who built it the first time, the thousands of workers who lost their lives, their loved ones, and their friends on 9/11.
Vicky says, “When history chooses to ignore lives, they become rumors, stories, half-truths, and incomplete lies. My essay attempts to reclaim a part of history that could lose itself to oblivion. Through this essay, I wish to bring forth people who have and are working hard to reconstruct WTC. This set of environmental portraits offers you a window into these anonymous, faceless spirits. Due to a lack of funding, I have been unable to visit the site again. But, I plan to carry forward this documentation as I feel a lot needs to be still done.”