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Prabuddha Dasgupta: A retrospective

The author previews the late photographer's upcoming exhibition and book launch at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

Ritika Bhatia 

PRABUDDHA DASGUPTA
For Vama, Goa, 1998, film image

PRABUDDHA DASGUPTA (1956-2012)
Published by: The family of Prabuddha Dasgupta
Photographs: 19 colour, 192 black and white

Pages: 292
Price: Rs 3,600

In the canon of contemporary Indian photography, Prabuddha Dasgupta was one master who established his own yardstick. "Prabuddha started his creative journey at a time when photography wasn't even considered a creative discipline, and this exhibition is a national recognition of his work," says Rajeev Lochan, director of NGMA. Prabuddha spent a significant time at the institute while growing up (his father, sculptor Pradosh Dasgupta, was a curator here) and the exhibition, Prabuddha Dasgupta: A Journey, is a fitting homecoming for the late photographer.

It's also at this exhibition that a book, Prabuddha Dasgupta: 1956-2012, edited by his wife and daughters, will be launched. His elder daughter, Aleeya Dasgupta, 25, gives us a window into the emotional and creative process of putting the book together. "Most of the hard work was my mother Tania's, she did all the initial scanning and editing of hundreds of photographs. Amaaya [the younger daughter] and I selected all the text in the book, and made the final selections of images in collaboration with my mother," she reveals.

Prabuddha Dasgupta: A retrospective
The book contains over 200 photographs selected from various bodies of work across Prabuddha's career, the selection of which "was intuitive and open-ended." The previously published work includes Women (1996), Edge of Faith (2009), and Ladakh (2000). Apart from those there is a section on fashion; images from his personal project, Longing (2007); as well as unpublished images from a commissioned project on Hampi, and some abstracts. "The book also includes an essay on Longing by Geoff Dyer, excerpts from interviews and some of my father's own writings," says Aleeya.

According to Lochan, "in spite of being so engrossed in commercial work, be it advertising or fashion photography, Prabuddha was still able to create a language of his own. His photographs had a concept of sthirtha - which means stillness, not frozen - according to Prabuddha."

For Le Mille, Alibaug, 2012, digital image
For Le Mille, Alibaug, 2012, digital image
Prabuddha's use of light and the interplay of shadows in his photographs have been deeply evocative, with an almost lyrical quality attached to them. "He plays with light in a metaphorical fashion to reinvent chiaroscuro - using conventional strategies with a contemporary approach," adds Lochan.

Raghu Rai is inaugurating the exhibition on Saturday evening, while Dayanita Singh will be the guest of honour.

For Suneet Varma, Delhi, film image
For Suneet Varma, Delhi, film image
Peasant woman in Shey, Ladakh, 1995,  film image
Peasant woman in Shey, Ladakh, 1995, film image
Far east in the Changthang, Ladakh, 1996, film image
Far east in the Changthang, Ladakh, 1996, film image
Interior, residence of Irene Barros, Betal Batim, Goa, 2005, digital image
Interior, residence of Irene Barros, Betal Batim, Goa, 2005, digital image

For Louis Vuitton, Delhi, 2006, digital image
For Louis Vuitton, Delhi, 2006, digital image


Prabuddha Dasgupta: A Journey will open on September 19, 6 pm and continue till November 19, at the National Gallery of Modern Art, India Gate, New Delhi.

Prabuddha Dasgupta: 1956-2012 will be available for purchase at NGMA and www.prabuddhadasgupta.com

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First Published: Sat, September 19 2015. 00:23 IST
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