When Nicolaus Schmidt first travelled to India in 2011, as part of another project, he found himself stopping over at the Karla Caves near Lonavala, Maharashtra. “It was really magic,” says the Berlin-based photographer, recalling the grandeur of these ancient rock-cut caves he photographed that day, over a video call . Over the next decade or so, Schmidt continued to visit India, on multiple occasions, travelling across its length and breadth, into its big cities and rural territories to unearth “all these amazing Indian relics of history,” says Schmidt, the founder of Rosa, one of the first German magazines of the gay rights movement.
What has emerged from all those years of work is India Tecton, a photo exhibition that will be held in the city, between May 14-27 that presents a complex, multi-faceted, diverse history of India through its architecture. “It is a very old, layered history,” points out Schmidt, adding that the exhibition, was first shown at the India International Centre, New Delhi, India in October last year.
Accompanying the exhibition, is Schmidt’s book of the same name, India Tecton, which was released in May 2022, containing 191 highly-focused photographs over 256 pages that chronicle this history.
“There have been lots of religions and cultures here. You have the influence of British colonial times, modern buildings after liberation and many famous international architects were invited here,” says Schmidt, listing some of the places he visited for this project. These include Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad designed by Louis Kahn. the Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari and the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai.
Schmidt will also conduct a five-day photography workshop at the Museum of Art and Photography, between May 15 and 19, titled Photography: Ideas and Design Tools. According to the MAP website, Schmidt will break down photographic concepts and introduce participants to working methods in the medium, followed by practice sessions in the environs and neighbourhood of the museum. The workshop will culminate in the production of prints from these engagements and a sharing and showcase of the same, continues the website, adding that while no prior experience in photography is needed, one needs a camera with aperture settings to attend the workshop.
Talking about the workshop, which will begin with a guided tour of his exhibition at the Goethe-Institut, Schmidt says he plans to show photographs by other famous photographers, too. “I want to show there is not only one way to make a good photo but a thousand ways. You have to choose your own.”
India Tecton will be showcased at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore between May 14 and 27 from 10 am to 6 pm. For more details, visit the goethe.de/bangalore