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Evening lights

Coni Horler's photographs capture the happening parts of the city

The photographs are easy on the eye

CONI HORLER'S exhibition of photographs, entitled Bangalore6to7pm, currently showing at the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, presents a lively, colourful and in some sense, glamorous façade of the Garden City. As is obvious from the title of the exhibition, all the 20 neatly framed photographs have been shot in fading light.

In most of the pictures, Horler brings into play the contrast offered by a deepening sky and long stretches of multihued lines induced by a `time' exposure of speeding vehicles to make his visual documentary. To foster a local flavour, Horler chooses some well-known spots of the city that provide the necessary backdrop to his pictures. Thus, the viewer sights the towering and glittering Public Utility Building on M.G. Road occupying the centre stage in one of the pictures, while it is the stately and sombre lighting that beckons him to the Vidhana Soudha in another. The Town Hall is similarly solemn but for the strands of vehicular light that streak the foreground. One of the better shots is that of a glass building with a huge hoarding on its roof against the richness of a deep blue sky. Horler also shoots the silhouetted TV tower and sports stadium, but here the effect is quite ordinary.

The photographer also positions his camera on the underpasses and bridges to capture the stillness of symmetrical streetlights even as the speeding vehicles make their presence felt. He also locates shrines — mosque, temple and a church in different shots.

There are some interesting shots taken at public places like the central bus stand, railway station and gas station. And could he ignore the `happening' places — Brigade Road and Commercial Street — with their neon signs and brightly lit show windows?

Horler's effort to glimpse the city as a sort of fantasyland rouses curiosity. His technical abilities and compositional skills are similarly palpable. The photographs are by themselves easy on the eye and, to some extent, have a sense of intrigue and suspense, thanks to the subjects and moods they strive to portray. But despite all this, there seems to be repetitiveness especially in handling the near-abstract and illusory lines created by headlights of the moving vehicles. Like any metro, Bangalore too hides within its underbelly a dark and stark way of life, which vastly differs from its glittering counterpart. Hopefully, in his future efforts, Horler would try and shed some light on the `other' side of Bangalore as well. The exhibition concludes on February 21.


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