K. Jayaram’s ‘Moody Landscapes’ shows how he treats photography like art, writes K. Jeshi

Internationally renowned photographer Jayaram displays prints of his landscape photographs, shot over many years across India, for the first time in Coimbatore. Titled ‘Moody Landscapes’, the exhibition at Contemplate, has over 50 landscape photographs he has shot in locations such as Kabini, the Nilgiris, Silent Valley, Bharatpur Sanctuary and the Chambal Valley.

The prints are on archival museum matte paper imported from Germany. This conforms to international standards and adds artistic value to the photographs, explains Jayaram. Better known as a macro photographer, Jayaram says there are so many other things in Nature to observe besides birds, butterflies and animals. “Every single day is a different one.”

Kabini at dawn

His series on Kabini captures the many moods of a misty landscape at dawn. Pointing to a lonely boat in the mist he says: “It was a winter morning and we were on a boat ride for morning safari. We were lost and we parked the boat in the middle of the lake. Suddenly, the mist cleared for a fraction of a second and I got the shot. The wavy moment of water created by our boat gave the photograph a greater impact.”

It is important for a photographer to pre-visualise an image and approach it as an art form, he says. He does this in ‘Sunrise In A Sanctuary’, where he highlights the play of light and shade.

Jayaram’s biggest regret is the rapidly changing landscapes. He shows a photograph that he had shot many years ago on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway. The photograph is of trees in silhouette against a red evening sky. “The trees were over 1,000 years old. But they are no more.”

Often, the photographer has to have that eye to see things differently. For example, there is a black-and-white photograph of wild flowers, shot near Madurai. “There were hardly any colours, so I converted the image to black and white. You can’t click images at your convenience and later photoshop them,” he states.

Monsoon at Silent Valley

Like most of his other photographs, one of the Silent Valley also has a story. “It rained for six days continuously. One day, I woke up with an intuition about the possibility of a good photograph. Sure enough, a beautiful landscape opened up to me for a few seconds,” he remembers.

‘Tree Line’ shows the magnificence of the Blue Mountains. “We were in search of birds and butterflies somewhere near Coonor and Kotagiri and what struck my eye is this image,” he recalls. There is another tree-photo taken at Parambikulam late in the evening. It shows the height of the mountains and the tree silhouettes add depth to the landscape.

He describes the experience of shooting in the cold at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. “In winters, the temperature is one degree till noon. You have to go prepared with gloves, shoes and winter wear. Even my camera wears a woollen blanket,” he smiles.

Other photographs that catch the eye are of artistically arrange haystacks, shot near Chambal. An orange sun in the Chambal valley, a peacock at sunrise in Rajasthan…every frame represents an experience that Jayaram remembers clearly. “The angle of sunlight and the thickness of mist lend a different feel to the photograph,” he explains.

There are ‘afterglow’ photographs too, of dramatic monsoon skies at sunset. Jayaram has also photographed the parhelion phenomenon. “This often happens in the Arctic Circle. I was lucky enough to spot it at Anaikatty. There are hexagonal ice crystals up there and, during sunset, the light which falls on the crystals bounces back on the clouds showcasing the Vibgyor palette.”

Jayaram also thinks like an artist. Pointing to some of his low-key light photographs, he says: “William Turner follows this style for his landscape paintings.” Photographs of a lonely pump house at Kollegal is reminiscent of the good old days, and the Hampi ruins are poignant. “We have so many beautiful places in our own backyard, we only need to look for them.”

The exhibition preview at Contemplate (above Ford Showroom, Avanashi Road) is on December 04 at 6 p.m. The display is open to the public from December 5 to 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days (including Sundays). For details, call: 0422-4226357.