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Sharp contrasts

The absence of colour in V.K. Ganesh Babu's photograms suggests minimalism


A TRAINED painter, who later ventured into fashion and glamour photography, V.K. Ganesh Babu is at present a freelance photographer with more than a passing interest in photograms.

Based on the analogous concept of working up a suntan, a photogram is a photograph made without a camera or a lens, formed by placing an object on paper or film coated with light-sensitive materials and then exposing it to light.

Where the object covers the paper, the paper remains light in tone and where it is exposed it darkens. This paper is then developed and fixed.

On entering the gallery, the stark contrasts and sharp definitions between black and white are overwhelming, more so with the absence of intermediary greys and the lack of detailing within silhouetted forms.


The purity of the severe distinctions presented by the absence of colour permits a clarity that suggests minimalism.

Natural imagery such as apples and twigs are juxtaposed with spanners, wrenches, nuts and bolts, anklets, bangles and other jewellery, while abstract compositions derive from intuitively fashioned simplistic paper cut-outs.

However, a little more explorative imagination and creative experimentation could have produced further interesting patterns and effects with a technique where the possibilities are unlimited.

The austerity of the black and white, despite being striking needs respite and this may perhaps have been provided by using translucent objects, thus introducing mid-tones realised through varying degrees of opacity.


A wider range of subjects, formats and materials subjected to the artist's darkroom manipulations would certainly have enhanced this exhibition of the camera-less photographs.

The show is on till November 20 at Vinyasa Art Gallery, Music Academy premises, TTK Road, Alwarpet.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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