Bhumi Ahluwalia uses simple compositions to focus on words that portray her bond with her grandfather.
This article was originally published in February 2012.
While I was studying for my Masters in photography in England, I regularly received letters from my grandfather, a retired IPS officer. My surroundings were new and the place where I stayed was quiet. Hence I looked forward to these letters that connected me with my home and family.
These letters, penned in his impeccably stylish handwriting, were a source of inspiration. My grandfather’s words of wisdom, affection and humour expressed the same ideas that I was learning through the medium of photography. I followed my instinct and took whatever that I had learnt to transform his words into images.
The idea came to me one afternoon, when I was lazing around in my room and noticed that the light from the window had created a design on the wall. Intrigued by these patterns, I took a plastic water bottle that lay next to me and placed it between the light and the wall, and saw some amazing patterns. Since the letters were lying nearby, I decided to use the patterns, light and colour to create an aura around the words.
Typically, I would photograph words that I was intuitively drawn to as ideas and concepts, but also kept in mind that the photographs must portray my affinity towards my grandfather.
French photographer and painter Jacques-Henri Lartigue echoed a similar idea when he said photography was about learning how to look and how to love. Through this project, I too discovered some of the things I cherish and love the most.
My Equipment: I used a Nikon D80 camera along with a 105mm Micro lens. The choice of optics allowed me to focus only on the words and bring the texture of the paper and ink to life. I also used a lot of cellophane papers and other odds and ends to create effects.
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