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Updated: August 6, 2010 15:57 IST

Writing out frames

SRAVASTI DATTA
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IN HIS ELEMENT: Among people most difficult to capture on camera. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K
The Hindu IN HIS ELEMENT: Among people most difficult to capture on camera. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K

It is not often that one comes across artists who impress not by fancy style statements, but by a genuine passion and in depth knowledge of the arts. Hari Adiverakar's humble demeanour belies a razor-sharp mind and a keen intellect.

He is a writer, journalist, music and travel photographer and a radio jockey. He has worked for World Space, Rave magazine, as an RJ on Spin, as a creative consultant and writer for the One Billion Votes Campaign in India. It is not often that one comes across artists who impress not by fancy style statements, but by a genuine passion and in depth knowledge of the arts. Hari Adiverakar's humble demeanour belies a razor-sharp mind and a keen intellect.

His multimedia installation of photo exhibits titled “From Monterey to Malwa” was held at One Shanthi Road Gallery recently. “I travelled by bus into the heart of Madhya Pradesh for the Malwa-Kabir Yatra,” after a brief pause, Hari exclaims, “Nearly 20,000 people attended the concert! We were all packed in Tata Sumos. We stayed in all kinds of places — cow sheds, dormitories, ashrams. I was the only photographer on the trip. It was a spiritual experience. I sent some of my old photographs to the organisers of the Monterey Jazz Festival. They gave me a free pass and access to photograph the musicians.” About why he finds jazz and Indian folk music fascinating, Hari says: “They have purity in them. It's incredible how jazz music has fought against discrimination.”

Photographing musicians is not as easy as it seems. “After wildlife, birds and insects, I rate music photography the most difficult to capture. It not only needs physical stamina but also tremendous mental focus. At times, I have sat for three hours at a stretch on my haunches in concerts to capture moments.” Hari considers himself a classicist and is inspired by the great masters, David Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Julia Margaret Cameron, et al.

Hari is against imitating any particular style. His quest is to evolve a style of his own. He has achieved this to a fair extent. “I see streaks of originality in my music pictures, but there are streaks of inspiration too.” Black-and-white-photography is his forte as it has a lot “less distractions”.Hari works with natural, available light and is not into studio photography. A combination of empathy and instinct works well for Hari and the process of trial and error has helped him hone his skills as a photographer.

He developed a love for music from an early age because his parents were culturally inclined. “My mother is a Hindustani classical singer and my father's breadth of knowledge on films is phenomenal.” The quality of reporting on cultural events has declined considerably during the last 50 years or so, and Hari waxes eloquent on this trend: “The national press should cover issues with real depth. There are no real opinions these days. Of course some journalists have written in-depth articles.”

Hari is a liberal pacifist and draws the line at religious extremism. “For me, humanists are most important. I am, though it may sound clichéd, a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.”

He plans to document Indian folk musicians. “When I Google anything on folk music, it throws up an ineffectual paragraph in Wikipedia. I think folk music should be documented better.” The project is an extension of the Kabir project.

“The project is theatrical in nature and presentation. Through my work, I wish to create a space in which different musicians will be able to interact with each other.” Most of his exhibitions have been self-funded. But, for a project of this magnitude, Hari says, “I require funding. It would be great if it comes from corporate houses.”

“For me, writing and photography combined beautifully; they are one entity. When I write about music and travel, I tend to be poetic. For journalistic reports, I write keeping in mind all the details,” he concludes. You can visit his website: http://adivarekar.in/

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