An exhibition of Swapan Nayak's photography, inspired by the philosophy of Jean Paul Sartre.

Award-winning independent photographer Swapan Nayak's latest body of work titled “Being and Nothingness” is making a splash in Bengaluru after doing the rounds in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. The exhibition, held at Tasveer Arts, is a series of black and white photographs. Unpopulated landscapes are key in Nayak's work. Vast stretches of water and land become his inspiration. Often his pictures highlight loneliness through apparently random subjects like deserted boats, a scarecrow in a field or a makeshift clothesline set against a wide expanse of beach and sky.

Nayak grew up in a village in West Bengal and only moved to Kolkata after his college years. Much of what he experienced in this shift from rural to urban life is showcased in his art. Unlike in his previous work, ‘Nowhere People', he attempts to capture emotions like pain and joy through seemingly routine or unremarkable objects or surroundings. Images reflective of his life in the village and his new life in the city juxtapose in his mind and enable him to capture his own consciousness through photography. He says, “At every stage of my life, the past, and the long-forgotten, resurface to throw light on the present. Which is why I seek a kind of quiet.”

Nayak's inspiration for this series comes from French existential philosopher Jean Paul Sartre's exposition of the same title. Both the photographer and the thinker stress on the significance of the individual's consciousness.

Nayak questions and sums up his inspiration in these words, “What is the beginning, what signals the end, I wonder? At best, life and death are two transit points in this gigantic universe. The rest is all consumed by a nothingness that even time cannot defy. As I stare at the vacuum, the mind becomes a flicker of fleeting images, with shadows between the frames. It is these ‘shadows' I try to capture in the only way I know how, through my photographs”.

Nayak has been published the world over. He has won a number of photography fellowship awards, including one instituted by the Government of India's Ministry of Culture for the period 2009-2011.

Being and nothingness, at Tasveer, #26/1, SUA House, Kasturba Cross Road, Bengaluru - 560001; April 20 to may 12, 2012 (except sundays), 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Bottomline An attempt to unify the world within and the world without through the lens.