Functional yet glamorous, photography has always attracted and appealed to people
all over the world. Fascinated by its exactitude, photographers have constantly
upgraded and improvised on its magic in the darkrooms. Documentary and functional
photography aside, the artist as photographer goes a little further to evolve
this utility as another expression of art. Therefore, art photography is another
tall order that has put this medium on the same pedestal as the other visual arts.
It is ironic but true that its invention in the early 19th century rudely shook the credibility of the visual arts. The painter's brush and canvas were almost made redundant by the photographer's camera. What the artist used to do in months or years the camera did in seconds, and on top of it the precision was phenomenal.
Photography takes at least some credit to have given the direction that modern art took during the last two centuries - the code of analyzing and the streak of individuality. And interestingly, down the lane it joined the same league that it initially brought about an upsurge to.
Bhaskar Samala, a third year student of the JNTU, Masab Tank, in the department of photography, has chosen art photography to gauge his own creative eye. Still at the learner's level, this young lad exhibits an enthusiasm not generally visible in many. Leaving aside the concerns of pursuing an expensive medium that may or may not bring in the lucre, he has embarked upon a journey to see the world around him through his Nikon.
Mounting his second solo exhibition at such a young age, Samala never considered human figures, architecture or even coffee table subjects for compilation in his portfolio. What enchants him always seems to elude the layman's eye: details of a peeling wall, the thick mop of moss on a neglected surface, textures of wood, the rotting mattress on his terrace and the parched cracks of a waterbed have had the honor of inviting the keen gaze of this lad.
Magnified in his frames, the various patterns compel the eye of the spectator to deduce inferences from its store of registered images. The entire viewing of Samala's display becomes a game where viewers attempt to place the origin of the image before them. The suspense is enhanced due to the abstraction acquired from an extreme close up. If Samala deserves any merit, it is for his inquisitive eye that probes the defunct aspects of the environment about him. His camera as companion, he moves about in it to document facets unnoticeable to the normal eye.
Says he: "Our journey (my Nikon's and mine) begins. Each time from the so called know to the unknown. Registered images are our takeoff points. We deliberate to shoot until the two of us arrive at a form that proclaims an unnoticed reality. A reality composed by my aesthetic sensibility and the technique of my Nikon, where the two of us are a means to evolve this reality."
Placing importance upon the organic development of his subject, he constantly captures the subject like it were a happening. The exhibits of the decaying mattress in his display are a classic illustration of his creative methodology. Therefore, in his work one can gauge the displacement of an existing reality that is not altered in its origin but certainly changes at the viewing stage.