Has India ever been photographed for its glory and diversity? I asked myself after gone through “GENESIS” – one of the greatest and finest photography project done by master photographer Sabastio Salgado, my all-time inspiration. India is a fascinating and most diversified country in all aspects. However, in reality, especially in photography, I always get to see dirty crowded streets, underprivileged people, colorful holy festivals, lavish turban portraits, dark, tired & wrinkled faces of poverty. Is this India all about? I totally disagree and I would like to disagree with a strong statement of work.
In this body of work, I wanted to focus on 4 main subjects.
1. Unexplored landscapes: “The beauty of a landscape resides in its melancholy” – I admire this quote by Turkish journalist Ahmet Rasim and I have experienced it very well. Hence, I decided to photograph the unexplored landscapes of Indian continent such as Himalayan Mountains, Hot and cold deserts, the Western Ghats, Rain forests of North East and furious seas. These landscapes are really beautiful, serene, pristine, tough and melancholic.
2. City & Architecture - Having strong historical background and spiritual importance: History witnessed many glories and devastations. Until independence, Indian sub-continents were ruled by many Emperors, Kings and great Dynasties. Numerous astonishing Forts, Temples, Sculptures, Monuments were built across the land – to symbolise Great Victories, for Gods, in remembrance of great Kings, in celebration of Life & Death, in the name of Love and for Protection. All of them prestigiously manifest themselves as a evidences of the Life lived and lost. Most of these monuments are still obscure, left unprotected for destruction and vandalism and greatly in danger out of disrespect and ignorance. My aim is to search, explore and photograph them.
3. People & Culture: India has 29 states. Every state is unique in terms of landscape, culture, tradition, language and historical background. Although they together constitute India as a single nation – fundamentally they are very different. I am interested to study the subtle nuances of common people and their lives depicting the differences in harmony and photograph them.
4. Wild Life: My project doesn't fulfil without photographing the fascinating animals – the most important aspect of Life Earth, those live with nature with a great struggle to survive against human kind. My objective is to produce dignified portraits of these wonderful creatures in its natural state of being. I want to photograph the marvellous wild life found across vast Indian landscape and document them.
My idea is to present the images in interpretational and imaginative way in order to provide a contemplative visual experience. I want to evoke emotions. Motivate the viewer to visit these places in person, experience them in their own way, learn to appreciate them and understand the importance of preserving these marvels for next generation and beyond.
I meticulously plan my travelling by listing down the important and remote places those have not been explored or photographedso far. I try to avoid the popular tourist destinations unless it has something related to my project goal. I do not travel to a place during “best time to visit” days. Sometimes, I prefer to travel in terrible weather conditions to capture the melancholic and true quality of the landscape. Most importantly, I collect as much information (this includes historical, political, weather conditions etc.) as possible about the place I intended to visit &photograph before I reach there. These preparations would provide me a better understanding about the place and guide me to capture the real beauty and essence of the place.
* * *