Having lived in the City Beautiful for 30 years, it was time to give back, says photographer Ajay Bhatia. When everybody these days is a self-styled photographer, what makes him different, one wonders. Ajay is quick to reply, “I feel when your work starts getting respect, that is the time when you can actually call yourself a photographer.”
(Photo: Gurminder Singh/HT)
Exhibiting his photographs at Alliance Francaise, titled Straight Lines, Open Spaces: The legacy of Le Corbusier, Ajay shares his journey into the world of photography, “I bought a Nikon D40 six years ago for pursuing my passion of making documentaries and capturing moments. But, I actually started clicking only a year ago.”
Talking about his work and the inspiration behind it, he shares, “My work is an amalgamation of the elements by Ansel Adams, whom I consider the father of photography. He was the master of light and well propagated the zone system, which stated how the photograph should emerge from dark shadows and move towards light. I have followed his work closely and therefore I do not use flash for my work. It kills the highlights and flattens the art. I am all for the use of natural light, as art is meant to chase the light.”
Ajay, who has captured 30 stills with his Nikon D 700 and Fuji XE1, adds, “Chandigarh is probably the only urban city in our country where human habitat lives in harmony with nature.”
He has captured various views of the high court, secretariat and Sukhna Lake with his fish eye lens, with a 180-degree angular view.
“My second inspiration is Henri Cartier Bresson, who was the best street photographer,” says Ajay, who initially just wanted to show the beautiful architecture of Chandigarh by Le Corbusier, but eventually couldn’t resist capturing nature, which he feels is another USP of Chandigarh.
He shares, “One shouldn’t lock a picture; rather, give an entry and exit to it,” and adds, “I do not compromise on the technique I follow, as that compromise leads to cropping and editing of the picture.”
Talking about capturing the MN Sharma staircase that was built in the ’60s, which is also one of his best works, he says, “Sharma is 87 years old now and is the only Indian architect to be associated with Le Corbusier while he was planning Chandigarh. I visited his home in Sector 8 and couldn’t resist capturing the thoughtful and geometrical architectural stairs.”
The open-hand monument looming in the sky, which is part of his solo show, is also one of his favourites. With another distinct picture of the Sukhna Lake’s rear view, near Krishan Garh, Ajay has tried to preserve the present Chandigarh for future generations to cherish.
(The exhibition is on till November 9)