Poetry of Silences : Saurabh Desai's 'Visual Poetries' is a fresh take on wildlife photography

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Travelling wildlife photographer Saurabh Desai portrays animals, patterns, colours and creativity all at once at Visual Poetries, an exhibition on display till 11th April that should not be ignored by visual art adorers. Here’s a Creative Yatra view for the viewers!

When photographer Saurabh Desai, who hails from the industrious town of Surat, reached Ahmedabad to display his creativity at Satya Art Gallery, I fortunately received an opportunity to talk to him briefly while glancing at his ‘Visual Poetries’ photography exhibition. Habitually, I always intend to look at the creations first and then leap forward to talk to the creator, but this time I experimented with my methods and reversed them by meeting Desai first to know about his perspective.

Desai shared about his journey in making Visual Poetries, as I asked him how he joined the Nature Club of Surat (NCS) and discovered the idea to become a wildlife photographer: “It all started with Raju – a naive cub that would mischievously frolic around his mother around the Banyan trees of Gir Forest,” he said. “I tracked Raju for eight years and watched him grow into a ferocious King of the Jungle one day. I had begun shooting at the tender age of 10 when gifted an SLR camera by a close family relative with five blank rolls. I soon became an avid lensman with a bag of sophisticated photography equipment. In Raju’s growth from a cub to a Lion, I saw a reflection of my journey – an amateur turning into a professional photographer ”

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Desai’s photographs are diverse, showcasing his curiosity to be an excursionist photographer. His photographic subjects belong to different regions of India, extending from the Western Ghats to the Great Himalayas. But there is something common in every frame, in each visual – the reverberation of a continuous motionless emotion – which is glorified not by the primary element of the photograph but by its environ. It adds an essence to the work, transmogrifying it from banal wildlife photography to fine art. Desai’s conviction to not be just another wildlife photographer makes him leap beyond the aesthetics, breaking the archetypal rules of photography. His method of merging lines, texture and flow within the frame exaggerate a minimalistic quality. For instance, he captures a single hornbill in a bush of life-sized leaves that create geometrical lines. On this, Desai commented, “The hornbill is a cherry on the cake, but to enjoy that cherry one has to prepare a scrumptious cake in the first place.”

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Desai is a self-taught photographer and is inspired professionally by Ganesh Shankar, Art Wolf and Nick Brandt, but when I asked about his choice of colours– which is unlike these photographers’ monochromatic use of patterns – Desai replied, “Praise someone but don’t pray to someone. I began photographing before social media entered the market, giving me a chance to not get carried away with a particular influence. I observed their skills and angles but eventually invented my own prototype to follow.” During the inauguration of this ten-days-long photography exhibition, Desai also inaugurated his Coffee Table Book titled as ‘Visual Poetries’, where he has described his experience in the jungle. He calls his work as poetry, and truly each of his photographs narrate anecdotes of their own.

The exhibition is a welcome compilation – where wildlife, abstraction and colours have been merged to create art.

Team CY recommends a visit. On April 9th, Sunday, at 11:00 am Desai has arranged a ‘Gallery Walk’ – in which he shall walk the visitors through the exhibition and share his stories and thoughts upon the display and give the viewer a more lively opportunity to interpret and enjoy his works.

 

Photographs : Himanshu Nainani

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