Clicking with the Himalayas

  • Biswendu Chowdhury, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Mar 05, 2013 02:21 IST

A few years ago, having a camera on a mobile phone was not a very common feature. And I, on the contrary, remember having wished many a time how I wanted to buy a good camera with which you could make calls! These days, however, it’s difficult to draw a clear line of distinction between a mobile phone and a camera. But, “it is as difficult to take a pleasing picture now as it was then,” says acclaimed Delhi-based photographer Ashok Dilwali, who has recently published his works in a book titled Nicholas Roerich/Ashok Dilwali: Inspired by the Himalayas.

“The ‘craft’ part has become easy, but the ‘art’ part remains as difficult and elusive as ever,” he goes on to explain as he takes from the splendour, colour and spirit of Roerich’s iconic paintings while revisiting the same landscapes through his lens. This book, which is more of a visual exhibition in print, starts with a few introductory pages of the Russian master’s paintings. From there, it takes you to a majestic journey through the Himalayas.

Clicking good photographs is not so tough, especially when you are standing amid the beauty of the Himalayas. But to capture the world of Roerich’s Himalayan landscapes in photographs is a daunting task. So, Dilwali used the magical ‘light of moment’ for his photographs, and some of them are as surreal as the paintings themselves.

He spent three decades to feel and capture the soul of this great mountain range and the journey was tough in this remote wilderness. In his words, “Having escaped death on more occasions than I can recall, I can say that a cat has only nine lives!”

The visuals come alive in the collection, and the best part is that the description of each photo is given at the end of the book in all details. Thus, the full-page photographs inside remain undisturbed — some flashcut, while the rest with a white margin. Every photo has small technical details right down to the camera model with which it was captured, to help passionate photogs know all that they can.


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