Saturday, April 13, 2013

Colours of Punjab

Today is Baisakhi, the popular harvest festival  of Punjab and I had the opportunity to visit two photo exhibitions reflecting  the culture of Punjab in two different galleries in the city. While the Museum of Fine Arts  in the Panjab University campus was open, the art gallery of Alliance Francaise  was close because they observed holiday on Baisakhi. However on my request, the watchman was kind enough to open it so as to enable me to see the photographs displayed on the theme of Colours of Punjab.
            Having read reviews of Colours of Punjab in two daily newspapers, I went to the Alliance Francaise  to see the photo exhibition. Generally  most of those who write reviews of photo exhibitions here,  prefer  not to comment in detail on various aspects of  photographs. Most of such critics, I think,  ignore such details, for reasons best known to themselves or perhaps due to space constrains of daily newspapers. Therefore, the reviews tell more about the photo-artist and less about the works, especially technical aspects.
            The Colours of Punjab by Harp Farmer, nick named, appeared to be a good maiden venture touching interesting subjects concerning life in rural areas of Punjab, but to me it appeared that  most of the images have basic problems with their composition and aperture.
            The other exhibition in Punjab University was entitled as “ Who Kaagaz ki Kashti….” by Daljit Kaur. She had displayed photographs as well as installations which I do appreciate as an interesting idea to project rich culture of Punjab, but in none of the images I could see any human being. The installations  being based on various  items of daily use in homes in Punjab and each labeled in English language, could easily apprise the viewers about the life style of the Punjabis. 
          The photographs  were of old styled doors, walls , ‘Gheeras’ used in rural areas to store  cow dung cakes, ‘Ghupps’ made of hay  and used to store fodder, but  here too I found similar problem with images. The tightly cropped images of ‘Gheeras’ and , ‘Ghupps’ did provide an opportunity to admire their artistic formations.Her installations and images of Punjab did reflect her deep interest in culture of Punjab, but a little improvement in her photographic skills could further enhance the overall impact of her exhibition.
            Hope the art of installations will become more popular in days to come.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Waist Level

Yesterday, I experimented with Nikon D5100 camera in a crowded market. It was because of its articulated monitor screen that  I could easily shoot from waist level. The results are good and I was not noticed by those whose images I was making. Had I held the camera at eye level, it would have been difficult to shoot people without getting noticed. This camera has many other plus points which I like.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

As I look back....

Come July 31,’13 and I shall attain superannuation after serving the Department of Information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs, Government of Haryana for over thirty-three years. Although this job of a PR man gave me some opportunities to make images at different places visited by me , yet it kept me so much busy with its hectic schedule that I also lost many photographic opportunities of immense interest to me. But all these years I never let my hobby overpower my profession. I do enjoy my profession as much as I like photography.
Well, I hope after retirement from this job, I shall get some time to enjoy photography to its best. When I look back, the score is not bad. About 400 acceptances of my photographs and several awards since 1997, when I began to enter my photographs in worldwide exhibitions, give me a sense of a little satisfaction. And to add to these are three international honours.
But always on my mind is the question that why on one hand  I came across  some new friend who would happily share their knowledge of photography as they believe in moving ahead in the company of others, on the other, there are those in whose company I had began this journey, have sidelined themselves. If they are not doing any good to me, they also  do not hesitate in hurting me. Thank God they are a few, but it’s a sad situation. I am told that the world is like that only.
This reminds me of a very experienced photo-artist about whom I had thought would prove helpful in further enhancing my skill and knowledge, but I was not that lucky at that time too. I took his criticism as a self motivation to perform better. That was the right move which helped me a lot. But there are those too who happily guided me to move ahead. While I am indebted to these well wishers, I am equally grateful to my well wisher-turned-critic for I tried to prove him wrong and have continued to move with the flow.
While I look back, I am also reminded of the days of my childhood when my brother Mr Brij Mohan Sapru had gifted me my first camera. It was Click III and I was just 13. For me it was the best gift. And from that day onwards, my interest grew in this form of art and my brother kept upgrading the equipment . Constant motivation being equally important to pursue a hobby, it was in 1998 that my sister-in-law, Dr Krishna Sapru,  introduced me to the PSA which has over the years immensely helped me in nursing my interest in photography. The field of photography is very vast and still I have to learn a lot.
This hobby has proved to be very rewarding. The PSA has taught me how to learn from the experiences of others and how to share my own knowledge. When I began my career as a freelance journalist in late ‘70s, I used to contribute to the Arts Tribune, the Youth Times, Sun, Femina and Indian Express as well, but after joining the PSA, I also voluntarily contributed to this prestigious journal which is read in over 70 countries by both professional as well as amateur photographers. I have got very encouraging response from the readers of my contributions.
Photography also brought me closer to the international photographic community thus giving me an opportunity to widen my horizon and I keep learning and sharing.