Three men stand with their backs to the viewer in what looks like a bazaar. They are clearly impoverished; their dhotis are in shreds. And yet they look just like sculptures from the Chola empire of the 1st century AD.
“It’s poetic,” says photographer and curator Ram Rahman, of this photograph by veteran artist Jyoti Bhatt. “The composition is artistic. The faces are cropped. And Bhatt seems to have waited to capture the exact moment when the men, in different postures, appeared like sculptures.”
Rahman has curated an ongoing exhibition titled The Photographic Eye of Jyoti Bhatt, bringing together a collection of pictures by the 83-year-old artist that are a departure from his normal point-and-shoot approach.
“Though not formally trained in photography, Bhatt had a great eye,” Rahman says. “He looked hard and created stunning images.”
Like the striking portrait of a young MF Husain, which is also part of the exhibition. Husain is relaxed, at ease, holding one of his paintings and smiling. “He had a great rapport with Bhatt, and that shows,” Rahman says. “Moments like this make Bhatt’s pictures a mirror to the artist’s lived experiences.”
What: The Photographic Eye of Jyoti Bhatt
Where: The Guild, Alibaug
When: Until February 18; 10 am to 6.30 pm
Entry is free