Holding the flute, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia turns his head and gives a dimpled-smile. While playing the shehnai, Ustad Bismillah Khan tilts his head in a peculiar fashion, retaining a calm expression on his face.
Their moods and expressions, along with a slice of their renditions, are captured in photographs clicked by artist Shobha Deepak Singh. These photos have been displayed at an ongoing exhibition — Musicscapes - The Multiple Emotions of Indian Music. The photographs have also been featured in a book, which completes Singh’s trilogy.
“In the past, I have compiled my photographs of dancers and theatre artists. This time, I was clear to choose musicians, but to shortlist 300 photographs from the three hundred thousand photographs that I had clicked, was a daunting task,” says Singh, who has been taking photographs since three decades.
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One who has heard these artists play live, is sure to relate to the their demeanour through the pictures. And those who haven’t attended their concerts, can revel in the overt expressions that Singh manages to capture when the artists were immersed in their performance. Singh says, “Former musicians used to show a lot of emotions while performing. Higher the scale they attempted, the more intense expression was visible on their faces.”
“At times, the musical instrument such as the tanpura took so much space in the frame that I used to be amazed,” she adds. In the book, she has included pictures of 44 musicians while the exhibition will feature 43 of them. The photos include names such as Amjad Ali Khan, Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain. “I made it a point to have pictures of those artists who have left us,” says Singh.
The exhibition also features candid shots of artists during a conversation or while preparing backstage. “But these are in colour and will be projected in one section of the gallery. The photographs exhibited will be all black and white, as that is the best medium to show the musicians’ expressions,” Singh sums up.
CATCH IT LIVE
WHAT: Musicscapes, photo exhibition
WHERE: India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
ON TILL: April 14
TIMINGS: 11am to 8pm
Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh on Yellow Line