Photo exhibitions in the Capital document fragile lives

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality,” photographer Alfred Stieglitz has said. When photography becomes a passion images are produced from the deepest of forests, coldest of places, deserts and of events and incidents captured by the lens by people with great risk to their lives.

‘Accessible Arctic’, the title of a photo exhibition currently on in the Capital, could not have been more apt. as one moves from one exotic photograph to the other, one feels surrounded by the vast expanse of glacial ice, feeling the chill in the very bones. The snow white polar bear, arctic fox, snow geese; all in their frozen habitats or women racing on the snow, Inuit sitting near a hole in the ice to catch fish or icy sheets floating on blue waters in the back drop of a sunrise and a sunset are some of the images brought alive by the exhibition.

In the light of climate change and global warming fast affecting and changing the fragile ecosystem of the Arctic and life of the Inuits and Eskimos, these photographs are an invaluable treasure for future generations.

As an American photographer Dorothea Lange has said, “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

The photographs are from the archives of the Canadian National Geographic featuring the Canadian Arctic. The exhibition marks Canada taking over the chair of the Arctic Council and India’s newly granted observer status at the Arctic Council.

From the overwhelming beauty of the Arctic’s icy landscapes to the life on Delhi’s streets, another exhibition ‘Delhi – its own way’ captures life in the back drop of monuments or ruins. There is a sharp contrast in the two exhibitions but they both portray ‘life’.

Krishnendu Chatterjee through his lens has sought to chronicle what he calls ‘the smaller moments that mirror the larger picture’ as he photographs life on the streets of Delhi. Whether it is pollution in Jamuna, a woman wearing chappals trying to walk through water logged streets or a man sleeping on the cart in a busy market or a child quenching his thirst from a tap, the photographer has tried to capture the essence of life of those who understand and accept Delhi as home.

Photographs are ‘history in making’ with power to ‘move’ and ‘change’ the world, whether they portray the ‘beauty’ of nature or horrors of manmade or natural disasters.