Decisive Moment

Victoria Terminus by Homai Vyarawalla is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Victoria Terminus in Bombay, now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal, as shot by Homai Vyarawalla (courtesy The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts)

This photo of the former Victoria Terminus in Bombay was taken in about 1940 by Homai Vyarawalla (1913-2012) who was India’s first female photojournalist of note. Her first American solo, at the Rubin Museum in New York, shows her starting out as an avid modernist: Her rail-station shot could have come from Cartier-Bresson or the Bauhaus. Once she became a “pro”, however, she abandoned her arty ways and stuck to a more documentary style. But I wonder if that later mode really tells more truth than where she started out? (See a gallery of other Vyarawalla images at

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