In the overcrowded scene of photography shows in the Capital, lensman Sandeep Biswas, at the risk of sounding self-indulgent, claims “A Tribute to the Lens” at M.F. Husain Gallery, Jamia Millia Islamia University, to be different. Explaining why this group exhibition — which includes veterans, upcoming photographers and students and goes to assimilate even artists who have been using this medium in their art practice — stands out, Biswas says, “When people go to a photography exhibition, they go there with one perspective but here we talk about the lens and myriad possibilities with the medium.” Truly enough, the 60 works by the well-known names from the world of art and photography, 20 attempted by the university's students and seven videos establish the creativity happening around the medium.
In different hands, the tool takes on different meanings. While in the images of Ram Rahman, Prashant Panjiar, Partha Sanyal and Sunil Gupta the viewer encounters a natural situation, sculptor Arunkumar HG, artists Shivani Aggarwal and Bula Bhattacharya and environmentalist photographer Ravi Agarwal and several others go beyond the given image to show the unseen. Like Arunkumar HG's digital print pondering on the issue of urbanisation has high-rise buildings morphed into mustard fields, Vicky Roy's humour-laced image of lockers with men's briefs hanging from each one of them, or Agarwal's side view of a two-storey building with a digitally created human figure on it and lots of waste in the front. Roy was a ragpicker and is now successfully pursuing his passion of photography. His talent was identified and given adequate push by Ram Rahman and Mira Nair. The young photographer also delivered a talk at the venue.
Probir Gupta's work on violence blending painting and photography depicts yet another possibility with it. The classic comes in the form of the two images from the famous Kulwant Roy Archive. Roy, the eminent press photographer and contemporary of Homai Vyarawalla, shows us the Kashmir of 1950. There is a work by Malkiat Singh as well. The image of a middle-aged Sikh holding roosters is from his forever growing body of works focussing on Sikhism. The faculty of Jamia Millia Islamia University — Prof Ghazanfar Zaidi, Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts; Asghar Wajahat and a few others too feature in the show.
(The show is on till September 20)