Acclaimed Kolkata-based photographer Ahmed Ali is a nonagenarian who has still not lost the zest for life. His shots of iconic film personalities like Satyajit Ray, Amitabh Bachchan, Calcutta of the old world and famous female models are images which would always remain timeless .
However, Mr. Ali’s forte lies in capturing the ongoing process of industrialisation and infrastructural development of the country. He still recalls the days of the Raj when even steel used in construction of bridges had to be brought all the way from the land of the colonial masters.
To enable the younger generation understand the historical significance of this self-taught photographer, a three-day exhibition was inaugurated at Alliance Francaise de Delhi on Lodhi Road here by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday.
Ms. Dikshit commended the black and white pictures which document the life of the tribal community of the Bastar region in Madhya Pradesh during the 1950s. “Barring soaps and salt, the tribal community had everything for its need. That they were well fed can be seen from their physique. It is a tragedy that their ancestral land has been taken over by unscrupulous people. Politics is vicious these days and it is a tragedy that outsiders have managed to infiltrate these lands. It has now become a Naxal-infested area,” said Mr. Ali.
Daughter Nafisa Ali planned to host Mr. Ali’s exhibition so that the younger generation could get a feel of his work and learn how he became an expert in photography all on his own.
She now plans to donate a part of the proceedings of the exhibition to conservationist Mike Pandey for the “commendable work” he has been doing for protecting the wildlife.
Mr. Pandey, who recently travelled to the Bastar region, says, “Photographers are custodians of national heritage. Mr. Ali has made all of us experience life as it existed over 60 years ago. Tribals of Bastar used to dress in a peculiar style which has now undergone a change. The whole place is inundated with plastic, and technology has changed the character of the place and its inhabitants.”