New Delhi : Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath bonded with traveller and photographer Karam Puri at his exhibition “A Million Voices” and said that young Indian photographers could play an important role in promoting and documenting the country’s cultural heritage to the rest of the world.
The minister from Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh, who loves art and photography, was moved by a colourful frame of the Khajuraho temple.
“The is photograph is beautiful because of its play of light. I think photographers have a lot to do in promoting the rich heritage of the Indian states. My state, Madhya Pradesh has a rich cultural heritage and a lot needs to be done to make its heritage accessible to the world,” he told IANS.
Contemporary photographs are a “mix of talent and technology”, Nath said. “I love contemporary photography. It is all about technology. Over the last five years, we have seen a lot of talented photographers emerge into the mainstream. The galleries are also playing an important role in encouraging young photographers,” the minister said.
He added that he did not mind working with artists to make road transport and highways more attractive to tourists.
“If they have a good idea, I would love to work with the artists’ fraternity,” Nath said, as he asked Puri questions about techniques and the light in his photographs at the Romain Rolland Gallery in Alliance Francaise in the capital.
The minister carried a large-format photograph of the Khajuraho Temples home.
Puri, who opened his show Wednesday, has shot extensive photo essays on the temples of Madhya Pradesh.
“I have shot more than 100 photographs of Khajuraho. They are part of a photo-essay on the state. Khajuraho is India’s cultural landmark,” Puri told IANS.
“Last October (2008), I ended up in Madhya Pradesh for 15 days. I made Orcha, Khajuraho, Shivpuri and Panna my base and made overnight trips to the smaller cities. Most of it was high definition photography shot with Canon US film camera, a Nikon D 200 camera, a Roliflex Medium Format and a Russian little plastic camera called Lomo,” Puri said.
The photographer, who was born in India, grew up around the world in cities like New York, Shanghai, Paris and Seoul. He describes his photographs as “moments of truth through the eye of his lens”.
“Five years ago, I went to Africa for six months and followed a group of photo-journalists to all the crisis zones — beginning with Dar-es-Salam. I got their stories and their shots. The fact that men on an average in Mozambique died before 37 changed my life. I started documenting reality,” Puri said.
Puri’s photographs can be divided into two genres — monuments and man. The section on monuments includes shots of Humayun’s Tomb, one of Puri’s favourite thinking pads, and the grimy by-lanes of Delhi, Africa, New York and Gujarat. The figurative section is a collage of ethnic Indian faces from the tribal areas, fashion models and African child soldiers with Kalashnikovs.