July 13, 2012

Sanjay Nanda: Pinning Down Elusive Somethings...

Several posts ago, I had mused about joining Pinterest; while I have obstinately refused to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I could not help contemplating for the longest while that Pinterest may prove to be the exactly kind of thing that would appeal to me. I decided to try it out - and was I hooked and how!:) Its combination of online scrapbooking, mood boards, and accumulating piles of visual images, reflecting my varied interests in architecture, style, art, photography, was completely addictive and my day is definitely incomplete if I don't stop by there at least once a day. Amongst other things, I have had such a good time discovering eclectic jewelry pieces, funky style-statements and even gratuitously (and sheepishly) indulged in my affection for cute animal pictures (I have called that particular pin-board 'Adorableness Central'!) Also, judging from the insane amount of gorgeous looking food and interior ideas posted there, I am on my way towards being completely inspired about transforming the way I cook and decorate.

In the meantime, what has definitively inspired me vis a vis my photography is Indian photographer, Sanjay Nanda's work. I can't quite recall whether I discovered Sanjay through Pinterest or not; however, what I did observe is that one of the images that I pinned (below) has been the object of several repins...and with good reason, I feel.

The Marigold Offering

First off, to pare down their description to the most fundamental level, Sanjay's images are viscerally beautiful. This image of a bright, rain-washed leaf green alcove with burnt orange marigolds placed inside them is not just about exoticising the flower or encouraging dialogue about faith: it is also happens to be stunning image to look at, period. I must confess though that at times I experience a strong, almost academic need to extract some sort of narrative from a photograph - it must say something, it is saying something, or perhaps, it is indeed speaking volumes and yet, I am the one unable to hear anything! However, when glimpsing Sanjay's work, it struck me that you can often be content with the sheer aesthetics of the image alone. Perhaps, there is an intriguing story embedded inside this image; however, for me, at least at this particular moment, even if there isn't, I am equally OK with that.

A View Through the Past

This photography is the kind of work that I would aspire to create; there is something about these images that you cannot help but look at again and again. What is that elusive something-to-be-looked-at-ness though? What is it that compels you towards these images? My relationship with photography as a spectator is often dependent on the associations and thoughts that immediately mushroom through my mind while looking at the image. For example, this particular image cannot help but remind me of the textures of the walls found in the courtyard and open terraces of my ancestral haveli...there are similar arch-shaped alcoves studding the walls too. Through this image, I am transported back to my haveli while simultaneously and independently appreciating the visuals of the image itself: the graffiti heart, the layers of exposed brick, peeling plaster, and graffti, and the white and blue serenity of the domes and walls glimpsed in the distance. I love how this image is both personal and impersonal, leading me to create a completely unique relationship with it if I were to, say, hang it in my most immediate space and see it every day.

Barred Gods
Sanjay's images also deal with subjects and approaches which are akin to what I have been seeking to explore in my photography, such as eye-ball-catching wall art, and windows and doors; these are works that are inspirational in the truest sense and I look forward to further extending my explorations and fine-tuning the articulation of my particular photographic voice. At times, when you are wont to become jaded of your inclination towards a specific subject matter, someone else's fresh, full-blooded perception of the same things greatly infuses life into your own approach. Yet, the issue then becomes of ensuring that your voice remains startlingly original without falling into the trap of imitative mode...but that's another story - and post!- altogether:)

Handprints on the Wall # 2
Whether you're creating or engaging with art, it is not always necessary that you have to invest your work with multiple meanings or layers of narrative...nor must you feel obliged to to wade through them in order to fully appreciate the work. Sometimes, the act of creation is as much a thunder-bolt as the act of looking at the work itself: it need not be any more complicated than that. When I close my eyes after seeing this image above, what crystallises in my mindspace is the marriage of red and blue and flatness and depth and creates an altogether different and utterly personalised image in my head. That is art for me.

All pictures courtesy Sanjay Nanda, Indipix Gallery; have a look at his brilliant work over here.


  1. A fascinating stuff. Keep it up!

    1. @Anon - Thank you so much for your kind words! Please continue reading...!


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