Photographs that Narrate a tale...
For photographer Irfan Nabi, images are all about stories and he wants to share the joy he felt during the shoot of Ladakh and Kashmir
Albert Einstein once said, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better". Irfan Nabi's exquisite collection of photographs, showcasing the vivid hues of Ladakh and Kashmir seems to justify Einstein's saying; as every moment captured amidst the alluring scenery of north, veils an engaging story.
For Irfan, a photographer who is blessed with an unconventional perspective, art of photography is all about patience and 'understanding of the right moment'. But what does that right moment seems like?
"Well, it's the decisive moment when you expect the nature to bring in something to complete the frame and make it worth capturing." Referring to one of his paintings, he further adds, "for example the street in the photograph didn't have anything except few scattered autumn leaves and a mundane ambiance. Just then this old man who pedals home comes in the picture, and it automatically builds a story."
According to the acclaimed photographer, images are all about stories and through his artwork he wants to share the sense of wonder and joy he felt during the shoot. Irfan believes these photographic moments should make the viewer feel to slow down and appreciate the beauty of nature. "You may click hundreds of photos at any time, but capturing 'moment' demands patience. A moment perceived by me should form a 'connect' with you as well. I witnessed it, you didn't. But if you take a pause while looking at the photograph and possibly sense a feeling of happiness, distress or just curiosity, that means I have actually teleported you to the place where the moment was captured and that's what my job is," Irfan, whose work has been published in National Geographic's global photo community platform, explains.
A bouquet of images by Nabi, revealing the unexplored aspects of places like Nubra Valley, Gurez, Dal Lake and Gul Marg is on display at the Indian International Centre, New Delhi. The photo exhibition, which will last till January 29, also brings forth the moments captured during Naropa festival which is celebrated once in every 12 years.
Coming back to Nabi's photography, another thing that catches one's attention is the candidness. None in the collection is a conscious portrait and is clicked when people are having a moment of their own. "I try to get intimate with the character, but not invade them. So I maintain the discretion. For me, It's important to study, get familiar with people, learn about their lives, understand the patterns and then click," added the photographer.
While the photography was taken care by Irfan, It was Nilosree Biswas, author and documentary maker, who carried on the deep research work. "If you have to find out very fine elements of a region, it becomes tedious. For example, the Naropa festival takes place after 12 years, hence people may not remember what had happened at the previous festival. The historical text might have certain information but you cannot just rely on it. That's where the real work begins. You have to go to people, to regions, and collect memories from them," stated Nilosree.
On that note, Irfan believes that even if you show him a drop-dead location, it won't appeal him unless he forms a connection with the people dwelling there. People form the soul of a picture, he says.
Two other factors about the photography, that would grab your eyeballs are the light settings as well as a unique perspective with which the moment is clicked. For instance, whenever there is a lady who is decorated, the perspective is always focused at the front (face). But Irfan has a different definition of beauty. "Everyone must have seen portraits of brides but I wanted to use hands to represent my perspective. I found it interesting that how culture could be represented through other symbols rather than just facial features."
Talking about light playing a primary role in his photography, Irfan added, "Actually it's all about light. You get the best natural light at dusk and dawn since these are the transition hours when the light changes hues. Every-day things that might appear mundane or flatten in the day sun, seems more lively during the sunrise or sunset. The transition hours changes the nature of how we see things. Observing the vividness of a colour is amazing in itself."