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Feeling the rain

Pallon Daruwala's pictures of the Monsoon-drenched Cannanore bring alive the many moods of the landscape


A UNIQUE collaboration between well-known photographer Pallon Daruwala and Yamini, a home-textile enterprise, has resulted in a photo-fabric exhibition, currently on the shop's premises at Ulsoor. The project came through when Yamini, whose links with Cannanore on north Kerala coast was primarily textile-focused, decided to document the environment of the place and evoke its multi-faceted spirit through a series of photographs. A range of products was later developed, taking a cue from the colours, textures and form of the photographs.

Happy collaboration

"I was happy to participate in this venture," says the unassuming photographer, who has included both colour and black-and-white images in the show. "When I shot the pictures, I deliberately kept the textile design possibilities out of my mind. I am very satisfied with the end-result and so is Yamini."

Pallon, who has a degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California, is settled in Bangalore since 1990. His main area of work is industrial photography. His work is now outsourced by several companies and corporate houses, while his pictures have been featured in many national and international publications. He is also on the technical panel of photographers for EPSON, the makers of fine-art, archival photo printers.

Over the years, Pallon has pursued his interest in landscapes. "Photography is not just about literal representation of scenery or an incident. It has more to do with feelings. You can give your negatives to a photo-lab and ask them to deepen the colours, crop the edges and do such things. But can you tell them to enhance the feel by say 20 per cent?" he asks. Pallon, incidentally, does not crop his pictures. The final images are exactly as seen in the negatives — edge to edge. No trimming, no manipulation, not even touching. The composition happens inside the camera.

His photo-exhibitions, Landscapes and The Art And Architecture Of Shekhawati, were highly successful. In fact, it was the last exhibition, showcasing Shekhawati's frescoed havelis, that drew Yamini's attention and culminated in the collaborative effort on Cannanore.


As one watches the photographs at Yamini, one is struck by their quiet elegance and soft intensity of the images. While several pictures bring to life even inanimate objects such as boats and fishing nets, others endeavour to capture and convey the mood and feel of the undulating landscape. There are some breathtaking shots featuring fishermen and old forts and edifices as well.

"In May, we were braving the infamous Kerala monsoon," recalls Palon. "Despite the challenging circumstances, the vivid colour, harmony, and the overall mood afforded by the play of light and shade were fascinating."

There were several instances where his alertness and skill were put to test. The result of one of them is an ingeniously angled shot of a boat on whose tip sits a crow. The bird is a mere speck but the photograph would have been hollow without its haunting presence. "I had spotted the flying bird but its attempts to settle on the edge of the boat did not materialise as the boat rocked in high winds. Finally, it managed to sit, but only for a split second. I had to capture the moment in a single frame," recalls the photographer.

The fisherman

Another picture, whose all three editions have been lapped up by collectors, shows the close-up of a fisherman with an intriguing expression on his face, accentuated by a large hat, a dangling cigarette on the lips, and an expressive deep blue sky in the background. "This chap sitting on a boat lit a beedi and took a puff. Then he noticed me smoking a cigarette. Quickly, he stubbed his beedi, took out a cigarette from his pocket and lit it. He looked at me, with a proud and almost arrogant expression as if to tell me `If you have a cigarette, so have I.' I was ready with the camera and snapped the picture at that very instant." Of the three editions of the fisherman's picture, the proceeds of one has been donated to Spastic Society of Malabar.

(The photo-fabric show, Cannanore, concludes on November 7.)

ATHREYA

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