Back when he was a kid, if someone had told Vicky Roy that he would one day be famous, he would have laughed at you. Or he would have ignored you and continued collecting plastic bottles strewn around New Delhi railway station. At that time, filling his stomach was more important than fulfilling his dreams. Fast forward to 2011, this runaway kid from Purulia, West Bengal, the son of a tailor who came to Delhi and became a rag picker—is a known photographer who is exhibiting his work all over the country and abroad.
DREAMSCAPES In 1999 when Roy reached his dream destination Delhi, he was in for a shock. “I used to see Delhi on TV. All those big buildings and smartly-dressed people fascinated me,” he says. “I had no money. Life was difficult so I started working as a rag picker with other children.” Six months later, bored of rag picking, he started working at a dhaba. It was here that he met a Salam Balak Trust (SBT) volunteer who encouraged him to study and lead a better life. “SBT helped me start my education again. But in class X when I got only 48 percent, the volunteers at SBT encouraged me to do something I was really interested in,” he says. In 2001, Roy got the opportunity to work with Dixie Benjamin, a British documentary filmmaker who had come for a workshop at SBT. From there on began his journey. A loan of Rs 25,000 from SBT and he had his first Nikon camera.
WORK NOTES Roy’s first exhibition Street Dreams in 2007 was sponsored by the British High Commission. The same year, John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton in UK organised a solo exhibition of his works titled Relative Works. In 2009 Roy was nominated by Ramchander Nath foundation for a programme in New York, organised by the Maybach foundation to photograph the reconstruction of World Trade Centre.
THE BREAKTHROUGH This year in August, he became the only Indian whose works were showcased at Lyceum Theatre Gallery in San Diego, USA. His photograph was one of the 109 entries from 72 countries chosen from among 15,444 photographs.
VICKY ROY, 23,