Photograph of Deepti Naval currently on show
at Gallery Espace, are personal communion with the Ladakhi landscape.
LEADIING LADY in over 50 films writer-director poet and artist.
Deepti Naval now shows her photographic perceptions at Gallery Espace
in Delhi, “in Search of Another Sky”
Educated in Sacred Heart Convent,
Amritsar, Deepti graduated from the City University of New York
USA where she majored in Fine Arts, English and Psychology. She
also studied Photography, Astronomy, and American Theatre.
Gentle sensitivity has always been
the hallmark of Deepti’s portrayals, be it in films or poetry.
It is the same sensitivity that characterizes her photo frames.
Travelling through Ladakh these pictures were taken thisJanuary,
the time when tourist influx is at the lowest. For that is what
Deepti does a lot of the time – run far from the madding crowds
to the untouched magnificence of nature, whenever time permits.
Shooting to all appearances with a wide angle lens, Deepti sweeps
up the landscape into her picture frame, every part in clear focus,
eliminating the human presence as far as possible. There is also
an absence of relative scaling in some of the visuals, especially
in the case of close-ups.
Her photographs are personal communions
with the Ladakhi landscape, most of them taken in natural daylight.
She sees poetry in each tree, stone and water, and responds to the
spatial and formal relationships between the elements of the landscape.
A dappled sunlight filtering through tree leaves, the trunks of
tall hill-trees, the undulating river with its textured bed, each
catch her camera eye.
Interestingly, Deepti’s penchant
for single motifs is underlined through the show. Her frames seldom
have multiple local points. Motif fashion. She composes with one
tree, one mountain top, one little hut, one electric pole, the one
blackened utensil on an extinguished fire, a single gate or a lone
kali temple in an otherwise Buddhist dominated area. Her frames
are characterized by the recognizably unwavering minimalism she
has projected in her own personna over the year.
Not much play of light is visible
in her frames expect in those of the Alchi Monastery, where the
interiors determine the lights and the shadows.
Deepti has caught the remote desolating
of the terra firma of Ladakh with the protective and vigilant eye
of one who cares, and fears impending destruction. She in fact,
is loathed to reveal the names of her subject villages, lest the
builders descend upon it with gaping purses, knives sharpener to
carve out every inch of the land. The unproductive terrain and unwelcome
weather conditions of Ladakh are no guarantee for its safekeeping
from the hands of “Progress and development”.
The pictures are so restfully bereft
of hotels, motels, pubs, inns, tourist lodges, motor vehicle, golf
courses, camel, elephant or yak rides and other such “tourist
attractions” that one is actually afraid of its beautiful
vulnerability. Deepti’s pictures are a homage to nature's
own hum of life, every shrub and boulder replete with a quiet austere
dignity, marginally touched by the human hand. To this extent and
more can any art form be regarded as an instrument for change and
conservation, credit goes to Deepti for capturing and handling down
the moon-surface of the earth to posterity.