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18 December 1955 (age 60)
New Delhi, India
Pablo Bartholomew (born 1955) is an award-winning Indian photojournalist and an independent photographer based in New Delhi, India. He is noted for his photography, as an educator running photography workshops, and as manager of MediaWeb, a software company specialising in photo database solutions and server-based digital archiving systems.
Early life and education
Bartholomew was born on 18 December 1955 in New Delhi, India, the oldest of two children. His father, Richard Bartholomew (1926–1985) was a Burmese refugee who settled in the Indian Capital and who came to be one of the country's leading art critics, as well as a painter, poet, and photographer. His mother, Rati Batra, a Partition refugee, was a well-known theatre activist and one of the founding members of Yatrik, a theatre company established in 1964.
Bartholomew studied at Modern School, where his father taught English. He abandoned his schooling in Class Nine, adopting the camera instead. In his early teens he photographed his family, friends, people, and cities. He participated in the city’s emerging theatre scene and even produced, in the ’70s, a series of events called “Thru Pablo’s Eyes” which was based on rock music accompanied with slide and film projection and live performers. To make ends meet, and to finance his photo documentary projects, he worked in advertising and as a stills photographer, most notably on the sets of Satyajit Ray's Shatranj ke Khilari (1977) and Richard Attenborough's 1982-film, Gandhi. In 1975, he was awarded First Prize by World Press Photo for his series "Time is the mercy of eternity," on morphine addicts in India titled Time is the Mercy of Eternity.
From 1984 until 2000, Bartholomew was represented by the French-American news photo agency, Gamma Liaison during which time he primarily covered conflicts and developments in the South Asian region. His photographs were published in New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Business Week, National Geographic, GEO, Der Spiegel, Figaro, Paris Match, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Guardian, and Observer Magazine, among others.
He incisively covered the catastrophic Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the funeral of Indira Gandhi and aftermath of her assassination—the Hindu-Sikh riots, the rise of the Khalistani movement, the political career of Rajiv Gandhi, the funeral of Mother Teresa, the cyclones in Bangladesh, the Nellie conflict in Assam, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which almost got him killed; among many other news stories.
He was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year in 1984 for his now iconic image of a half-buried child victim of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
Bartholomew had his first photography lessons at home, in his father’s darkroom. “When we went to our summerhouse, I would be with him in the darkroom, looking at the images emerging in the developing tray. That was pure magic. He didn’t teach me anything specific about photography. What I took from him was the need to be a more sophisticated man—a Renaissance man, like him—whom I’m not,” said Bartholomew in an interview with photography website, Invisible Photographer Asia. During his teenage years, he started photographing his family and friends and life on the streets, including the worlds of the marginalised rag pickers, sex workers, beggars, and eunuchs. He first exhibited photographs from this body of work at Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi, in 1979, and at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, in 1980. In July 2007, Outside In: A Tale of Three Cities, a retrospective revisiting of the same archive of photographs from his teenage diary, shot in Bombay, Delhi, and Calcutta, was shown at Rencontres d’Arles. In 2008, the show travelled to the National Museum, New Delhi , the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai , Bodhi Art, New York, and in 2009, to Bodhi Berlin. The display of the series at Chobimela VII in Dhaka in January 2013 marked its 12th showing.
He has held a number of fellowships, including one from the Asian Cultural Council, New York (1987), to photograph Indian immigrants in the USA, and one from the Institute of Comparative Studies in Human Culture, Norway (1995), to photograph the Naga tribes in India. Between 2001 and 2003 he ran a photography workshop for emerging photographers in India with the support of the World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam. Among his photo essays are "The Chinese in Calcutta," "The Indians in America," and "The Naga Tribes of Northeast India".
Padma Shri Award 2014
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2014
Photo Exhibitions and shows
Bartholomew's earliest solo exhibitions, in New Delhi in 1980 and Bombay in 1981, dealt with the marginal worlds he inhabited at that time. In 2005 he exhibited at Month of Photography in Tokyo. In 2007 he exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in France, and Newark Museum's Indian Photography and Video Festival.
- "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- List of members of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
- Joy Michael
- http://www.archive.worldpressphoto.org/search/layout/result/indeling/detailwpp/form/wpp/q/ishoofdafbeelding/true/trefwoord/year/1984. Missing or empty
- Official website
- Netphotograph, Online archive of photos
- Teenage Work "OUTSIDE IN, 70s & 80s, A tale of 3 cities"
- The Indian Emigre project
- World Press Photo winner 1976 Morphine addicts series
- Bhopal Gas Tragedy 1984
- Mother Teresa – A photo tribute
- Nagas-Marked with beauty
- The Haidas on National Geographic
- Digital Camera interview
- Related exhibition site of Richard Bartholomew
- Listing of awards on the World Press Photo Website