Those who have travelled to the Valley of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh would often draw a sketch of its rugged features, snow-and-wind-battered mountains, untarred roads, dry and harsh weather. The beauty-with-pains-sort-of-description only eulogies the mesmerizing beauty of the cold desert mountain valley, which is also home to the highest post office at Hikkim.
It is these intriguing and captivating features of Spiti that photographer Amit Verma has captured in his lens. Around 25 monochromatic photographs are being showcased in an exhibition titled “Light and Lines in the Middle Land”. The dramatic landscape of the remote valley is rivetingly featured in varied textures and tones. The landscape of the remote Spiti valley is often compared with Ladakh, but Amit points out the former is “more rugged” in nature.
The cold desert with an azure sky, mountain of different hues, architectural styles and home to many gompas and Buddhist temples, Amit has single-mindedly focused on landscapes, that too strictly in monochrome. “I feel that I can present the beauty of the place in the purest form with the only monochrome medium. It depends on the person how he himself feels about his work. Also, we are more used to see our surroundings in colour, but monochrome prints will force you to imagine the real beauty and in the process, one might land in the mystic wonderland of monochrome charm.”
Moreover, he adds, there is a motto behind the exhibit. “What I want to highlight is that photographers are shooting thousands of digital images but seldom they print for themselves. The value of analogue, I mean prints in this digital era is amazing. To leave the legacy behind your prints is the real way of celebrating the life of any photographer instead of hard drives full of digital data.”
Amit has been a chief photographer with one of the leading magazines and has been documenting various events through his lens for almost two decades. Thus, assumingly, our discussion veered towards smartphone cameras being a disrupter in the visual storytelling business.
“The beauty of a phone camera is that perhaps they are responsible for spreading this beautiful medium. In my opinion, phone cameras are very useful for day-to-day images, which we shoot just for fun. But when it comes to professional work then there so many aspects of the phone camera that limit the quality.”
For instance, he said, “In phone cameras, technically you can’t create very high quality of optical lens as phone’s body is very slim. The new generation of phones have multiple lenses, but, on the other side, the sensor which captures the image is too small when compared with a professional camera system. In my opinion, both can coexist…”
The exhibition can be viewed at Convention Center Foyer, India Habitat Centre until January 12, 2020.