Sunday Chronicle headliners 19 Feb 2017 Journey into the hea ...

Journey into the heartland

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | GEETHA JAYARAMAN
Published Feb 19, 2017, 2:11 am IST
Updated Feb 19, 2017, 6:42 am IST
An old, gnarled tree that has been growing for decades — and is a little kingdom in itself.
 An old, gnarled tree that has been growing for decades — and is a little kingdom in itself.

The true character of a place is often found in little bylanes, small overlooked corners, in ordinary everydayness. Delhi-based photographer, Sanjay Das loves exploring the many lanes and nooks and facets of India and capturing them in his images and photo essays. His journey, he says, began when he saw the magnificent  landscapes of Ladakh. “The natural landscapes seemed too stunning to be real to my naked eyes, and inspired me to take up the camera,” says Sanjay who has a Fine Arts degree from the College of Art, New Delhi. Cultural history always fascinated Sanjay.

Prayer flags kissing the sky and dancing in the breeze.Prayer flags kissing the sky and dancing in the breeze

A tram slowly makes its way through a leafy laneA tram slowly makes its way through a leafy lane

“Being an artist, I dreamt of painting the cultural beauty on canvas but I finally found my calling when I saw it through the lens and captured the scenes and expressions in photographs,” he says. Sanjay’s works are visual documentaries of many of India’s not widely known traditions. He worked on a series titled The Transformation Theyyam, featuring a ritual dance that’s performed in the temples of North Kerala.

Life on a boatLife on a boat

The majestic mountainscape of Ladakh The majestic mountainscape of Ladakh

“It’s a traditional art form not many people know of. Many a time, people mistake it for Kathakali, as in both (art forms) performers don an elaborate and brightly painted get-up. So, my focus was on shooting the behind the scene preparations.” Another of his series, Making of the idol Saraswati, captures the creative and meditative spirit of various festivals through the eyes of local artists living in the lanes of Kumartuli, a potter’s hub in Kolkata.

Children leaping with joy in a beach in GoaChildren leaping with joy in a beach in Goa

A Theyyam performer in his vibrant makeup and costumeA Theyyam performer in his vibrant makeup and costume

“This place has existed for over 250 years now, but what I found baffling was that there was very little documentation of that area. In this series, I focussed on the hands of the artisans, which produce some of the greatest idols that are worshipped.” For the last seven years he has been working on a project that focuses on capturing the traditional beauty of Bengal. “During my research, I found that not much has been documented or written about the tribes of Bengal or the culture outside Santiniketan or Kolkata. In this series, I am focussing on the different tribes of the region,” explains Sanjay.

Drama in the sky in shades of black and whiteDrama in the sky in shades of black and white

Going forward, he plans to do a series on Vrindavan and the different temples in the vicinity. He says, “This series will focus on the temples surrounding the main temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, Bankey Bihari Temple, along with their historical relevance. For instance, there is a temple dedicated to Swami Haridas (Guru of Tansen) where every evening there are musical renditions of bhajans. Not many know of it, I plan to capture its beauty and ethos in my upcoming series.”

...




ADVERTISEMENT

More From headliners

-->