Archive for December, 2010

Magnum ke Tasveer: Exhibition of Hollywood Photographs

December 23, 2010

My friend Vishwas and I went to see an exhibition of Hollywood photographs at

Tasveer Art Gallery

I enjoyed the photographs on several levels. The first reaction, of course, was to the technical excellence of the photographs themselves. In the era of black-and-white photography, when photography was a cumbersome and tedious process, these photographers have yet produced such gems! Portraiture, to me, is one area where black-and-white photography still holds its own against colour.

Portraying people noted for their looks, as well as their talent, can hold its own challenges. Which aspect would you highlight as a photographer? Some photographs, such as that of Ingrid Bergman, focus on the beautiful lines of her face and neck; it’s the physical beauty that is captured. Others, such as the photograph of Alfred Hitchcock, with a bird settling on his trade-mark cigar, touch with a sense of sardonic humour on the film, or the talent, of the subject. There was one very memorable photograph of

Satyajit Ray

his kurta soaked in the perspiration of a humid Kolkata afternoon, directing his cameraman, the equally famous

Subrata Mitra

I was also impressed by the range and scope of the collection itself, and the hard work that must have gone into gathering the various negatives. Perhaps this is what justifies the astronomical prices (ranging from Rs. One to Two Lakhs, and above!) that are being charged. Well, thankfully for impecunious visitors like me, we can see the photographs for free, at least for a while!

Seeing the photographs also set in train many thoughts about the nature of physical beauty. The camera captures what will be lost later; that smooth skin will wrinkle, that thick mane of hair will wither away….Anno Domini will take its toll, and the beauty of the photograph will be the hagged crone of today’s reality. Why, I wonder, are the most fleeting things the most satisfactory? In some things we respect the majesty that longevity brings, but not when it comes to human beauty. We worship youth…we don’t accord enough respect to Age, it seems.

This was exemplified by one photograph of a white-haired Charlie Chaplin, directing a movie….I would never have recognized him, which means that only the photographs of his younger days are familiar ones.

Another aspect of the photographs was the bulk of the photographic equipment in them. In that photo of Charlie Chaplin, the giant dimensions of the movie camera bring out, starkly, how much miniaturization has occured in a short period of time. The ordinary photographer, taking a quick video of a street scene on his mobile camera, cannot imagine the kind of clunky equipment it took to make a silent movie of the 20′s! The march of technology for the common man is truly amazing.

Nice to visit an exhibition which elicits so many reactions! Thank you, Tasveer!

Misty Morning….

December 23, 2010

As I went for my morning walk, the mist closed in, and when I returned home, I could hardly see the buildings opposite, from my balcony:

mist 231210

I love walking in the winter…one can walk as briskly as possible and not sweat…and a cup of hot coffee or chat tastes even better after the walk…such mornings make me feel that I am living in a “hill station”…and the beauty of the morning keeps me happy through the day!

Valley School…the spiders

December 22, 2010

This post is dedicated to


the Spiderman!

For various reasons, after attending the Training Session, I had to drop out of the Elephant Trail Survey, and I was a little disappointed about it, until I fixed up with Anand Bhat to go to Valley School this morning. Instant restoration of good spirits 🙂

Here are some of the beautiful spiders that we saw:

This one I cannot id, but it was a really tiny one (that’s my finger skin that it’s sitting on!)

un id spider tiny vs 181210

Karthik says this one is a


debris orb spider 181210 anand

Some of the spiders are, of course, software engineers. Here’s one developing a beautiful website:

dev website 181210 vs

The idea is to make a wonderful creation, like this:

181210 vs spiderweb

Of course, there were a lot of



nephila maculata giant wood spider vs 181210

More about the other creatures and birds that we saw, after I get back from the Citizen Matters pEtE mAtu today!