The Window Seat Project offers a look at India, from the vantage point of Indian Railways

The Indian railways are one of the most interesting places to gauge human interactions. Shanu Babar, a grad student, came up with an Instagram project documenting people on train journeys. This was part of his Master's dissertation as he (along with four friends), journeyed across India to shoot a travelogue.

They began uploading 10-15 second snippets of their journey on Instagram and Facebook, which gradually grew into the now viral 'Window Seat Project'. The WSP has crowd-sourced photos of travellers from all over the country. Firstpost had a chat with Babar recently about his project; excerpts from the interview:

In conversation with Shanu Babar.

Shanu Babar, the creator of the Window Seat Project

How did you come up with the idea for the project? 

I started this project as a part of my dissertation film during my Master's at the Symbiosis Institute of Communication in Pune. I came up with the idea of doing a travelogue, which explores this country through the window seat of a train. The window seat always was a very special place when I was a child... it still is in some ways. Trains unite the vastness of India in one whole thread. Four of my friends and I, we planned a trip from Pune to Kanyakumari, and from there to Dhanushkoti and back, and decided to capture the experience and interview fellow travellers, of what do they think when they look at the country through the window seat.

How do you fund your project?

We started the Window Seat Project by using our own money for the travel, food and accommodation. After that I started the Instagram page and slowly it started gaining attention and now it has more than 15,000 followers; so I'm planning to associate with brands and put together funds for WSP on a bigger scale throughout India. If luck holds, maybe even the world. As of now I'm only approaching brands and people. I haven't used any crowdfunding websites yet.

How do you crowd-source your project? 

Whomsoever wishes to be featured on the page has to use the hashtag #windowseatproject. After some time, a lot of people started using the hashtag. Every day I go through about 100 photos. I pick up the picture which I feel is the most meaningful and something that echoes the theme of our project and I give the person proper credit for using the photograph.

Can you pick three favourites out of your series?

Picture 1:

This is the exact frame from the outside of a window seat traveler, of one where the person is just reminiscing and behind him is an entire train of thought.

Babar says, "This is the exact frame from the outside of a window seat traveller, of one where the person is just reminiscing and behind him is an entire train of thought."

Picture 2:

Babar says, "This is purely for the inspiring thought it portrays 'about alaways looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.'"

Babar says, "This is purely for the inspiring thought it portrays about 'always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel'."

Picture 3:

This one probably for the magical nature of the photo itself. It looks less like a photo and more like a painting of that magical hour of the day when the light makes everything look so sublime around you.

Babar says, "This one probably for the magical nature of the photo itself. It looks less like a photo and more like a painting of that magical hour of the day when the light makes everything look so sublime around you."

All photos courtesy Shanu Babar and The Window Seat Project

The Window Seat Project is on Instagram and Facebook


Published Date: Oct 15, 2016 08:34 am | Updated Date: Sep 01, 2017 06:27 pm


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