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Friday Review » Art

Updated: September 3, 2009 18:23 IST

The art angle

Shailaja Tripathi
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Vivid Baba Anand?s work reflects on the consumerist culture.
Vivid Baba Anand?s work reflects on the consumerist culture.

The photo exhibition captures various aspects of India in a very ‘arty’ manner

While the age long debate whether photography is a valid art form or not still rages, the issue has hardly affected those who work with the camera. Particularly this season has seen a tremendous surge in the number of photography exhibitions where some of them are seriously trying to take the genre to a new level. In Alka Pande’s “The Wonder That Is India – A Visual Map”, 8 photographers bring forth a collection of refreshing images.

Moving away from the conventionally defined role of photography, that is to document, here the pictures are very ‘arty’ not because of the subject that has been shot, but on account of the way they have been handled. Baba Anand, known for his kitsch paintings, has captured windows of malls and luxurious stores to drive home the point of increasing consumerism. With mannequins, clothes, embellishments, the frame looks cluttered and as if specially staged for the picture but surprisingly, he reveals, they aren’t. “The trick lies in the way they have been clicked. My work has always been over-the-top; here too, there is just too much happening but I have experimented with black and white,” explains Baba who for the last two-and-half years has been doing photography as well.

Another photographer Mustafa Quraishi plays with the slow shutter speed in his images of a pub and his frames of the Maoists of Chhattisgarh. The image of Gond tribals celebrating Bhoomkal diwas in the Dandakaranya forests in Chhattisgarh could have been a simple direct image but for his experimenting with the slow shutter speed, the light coming from behind transforming into a ray and giving a new dimension to it. “A newspaper probably won’t publish this picture so when one gets an opportunity, he/she should experiment,” says Mustafa who works with the Associated Press.

While Bangalore-based Clare Arni in her pictures reminds the viewers of the forgotten professions of India and documents the life of a Belgian nun in a cave in Hampi, Ayesha Kapur captures the life of Tibetans living in India. Spanish photographer Ingio EscrivadeRomani Cano is fascinated by the patterns and textures of cultural objects like the spices, vermillion, the shaved head of a pandit.

(The show is on at Instituto Cervantes de Nuava, Hanuman Road, till September 6)

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