Historical photographer Nirupama Lohtia on her latest series, “Chand Mahal”.
She is a historical photographer, discovering the ‘lost' places ever since she decided to capture them in her camera's frame. Nirupama Lohtia has exhibited four series of photographs about palaces and places which have lost their attraction and are doomed to solitude, but still have the tales from the times to tell.
It is her fascination with palaces that she has captured in the camera throughout all her series. However, with “Chand Mahal”, her latest series, exhibited in New Delhi recently, she wanted to depict surrealism, a sense of being lost and, most prominently, romance.
“The primary thing I wanted to depict was romance. I think my whole quest of becoming a historical photographer is about romance. I think in the older times people were more romantic, they had more time, they had more leisure and they had a different sense of romance than people have now. Palaces are a part of that romance. If you could see these structures, where space was huge, there were decorated elements everywhere. I think they created a feeling of love.”
Nirupama explains how she is different from heritage photographers, “I pick up one subject; I don't go around taking random pictures of monuments. That would be heritage photography. I specialise in a period or a subject and I take about a year to cover only that period or only that subject. I research how India was during that period.”
Unlike many photographers, Nirupama is not a technical person. She can click pictures as long as she can get a digital camera, which is usually Cannon, of about 12-14 megapixels.
Caught under the milky light of the full moon, the pictures in “Chand Mahal” have certain special effects added to them later, i.e. glow. She decided to use special effects because they enhance the pictures. It took her three expeditions on full moon nights in Bundi, Rajasthan, to come up with these photographs, which were first displayed in an exhibition in 2009. Recollecting her experience, Nirupama says, “Bundi between the times that I took these pictures was lost. Now, it has changed completely. Its sense of being lost is no longer there. I visited it last year and I think when a place gets discovered, it ceases to be ‘lost'.”
Taking her liking for lost places further, Nirupama will be coming up with another series of pictures in a year or two. She has already started working on it. “Being into photography for almost a decade has brought to my notice those places which I couldn't discover earlier,” she says. “It will be another level on the subject.”
(The photographer was in New Delhi recently for the fifth exhibition of her series “Chand Mahal” at ZaZa Home & CaféZaffiro, where the series has been made available for purchase till September 21.)
Keywords: historical photograpgy