Technology, now like never before has allowed us to create whole new worlds, and visual experiences. Delhi-based Sanjay Nanda is a real visionary who apart from being a graphic designer is also a passionate photographer.
Nonetheless, his experiences as a visual designer has brought out the ability to see beauty even in mundane things. Photography has helped him release his intense creative urges and communicate what he feels and sees. And by using simple concepts and techniques that are grounded in the realm of fine art, he has carved a niche for himself as a professional Fine Art photographer. Excerpts:
Your sense of design and aesthetics is evi-dent in the images that you shoot. Did growing up amidst art influence your photography in any way?
As a Graphic Designer, I have a very good understanding of compositions and the various elements of visual design (lines, forms, shapes, colours, textures, proportions, space, balance, cropping, etc.). I use these elements to create my compositions.I mastered photography the other way around (vis-a-vis other professional/non-professional photographers), which probably is the correct way. Firstly, I learnt the art of photography and subsequently, the Science part of it. The technical part is very simple and can be understood easily in a few weeks, and this is what is taught in most photography workshops. However, the art part of photography is not taught by anyone. That’s why most images that we see lack in compositions. I already knew about compositions even before I started photography. I just had to fit what I wanted and how much I wanted into my frame.
My photographic process involves a persistent scouring of the urban landscape for the uniquely unseen; compelling moments of light, texture and form; and, many times, the decaying elements in the constructed environment. My attempt is to extract and synthesize the less seen, yet strangely elegant, fragments of the urban landscape in order to reconstruct an urban aesthetic.
Since I shoot a variety of subjects, thought provoking compositions with colour combinations move me. When I gets back to my studio, I re-assess my images, and then choose the ones that have a staying power. I am more interested in collecting the raw visual materials that allow me to explore the inherent dynamics and tensions of the picture plane.
When you shoot pictures, do you look for something in particular? In short, how would you describe your photographic style?
My style could be termed as ‘expressive minimalism’. i.e. interpreting the things I see by removing all the descriptive clutter, in order to express it’s meaning more lucidly to others. It is photography that interprets, rather than describes, what we see to oth-ers. It tells a story, going beyond conveying information for its own sake. By expressing our own metaphorical point of view about what we see, we can communicate ideas to others, triggering emotional, intellectual, and imaginative responses.
My images are a combination of abstraction, incongruity, and human values. Abstraction removes the literal, descriptive clutter and hones an image down to its essence and encourages unlimited thinking. Incongruity presents elements that seem to be at odds with their context and creates contrasts and juxtapositions that stimulate both the emotions and the imagination. Human values convey the emotions, beliefs, traditions and knowledge that we understand and share as humans.
Your creativity is simply out of this world and de-lightfully surreal. What is the mantra of your success?
This is because I shoot in an un-emotive manner. Emotions don’t dictate the shots. For eg. I don’t see smiling children, poverty on the streets, devotion in a pilgrim, a romantic sunset, etc. while shooting. I just see my subject as elements in a composition: forms, colour, shapes, space, etc. Emotion is the end-product expressed by the viewer when they see the final image.
I love colour (and also B&W stuff, which I believe are also tones of colour). Besides, I have played with colours throughout my entire career as a designer. Particularly in India there is a lot of colour and it is extremely difficult not to notice it. Since a majority of my compositions are tight minimalistic compositions or abstractions, only the very colourful or dramatic part of the environment is captured.