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Comments on Ramesh Gandhi's Photographs, by Bhashwati Sengupta

I was so mesmerized by the photographs that initially there was in me a vain urge to be the photographer’s eyes, as he looks through the lens, so that I too could see what he sees. And then I saw that being in his eyes will reveal nothing because what he sees is not in the object that he beholds. It is in his mind’s capacity to transform the mundane into sublime.

In order to describe what I have come to understand of Ramesh Gandhi’s art I must first state what it is not. It is not re-creation, replication or reproduction of a thing of beauty that his eyes alight upon. It is a total contrast to the conventional notion of photography as a means to ‘capture’ and ‘immortalise’ the tangible, be it an event or an animate or inanimate subject.

RG communicates the abstract through the tangible.
He uses photographic equipment to transform what his eyes see into what his mind visualizes. The combined effect of thought light and lens lifts his subject from the commonplace to the realm of aesthetics. It is a process of distillation that refines what he sees.

A flower is more than the sum of its petals and stem. RG presents to us on those petals, the dynamic play of light and colour.
His portraits do not contain mere features of a face. They embody the complex consciousness, the noblest thoughts and the deepest feelings that any human face might represent. Each portrait communicates a life story in a single frame.

The photographs are accompanied by compositions in free verse that defy neat categories and definitions. Not only do they not follow any prescribed rules of poesy, they audaciously establish their own law. While at a simplistic level they describe and relate to the accompanying images, at a deeper level each of these compositions encapsulate the outcome of the longstanding philosophical and metaphysical enquiry that has formed the core of RG’s life.