Almost at the fag end of the exhibition, I went to visit the collection of vintage photographs at Tasveer, and I also met Abhishek Poddar, whose gallery it is, and who has toiled for two years to make the collection. Here he is, in front of one wall of displayed photographs:
The first thing that struck me was the homogeneity of the exhibition, in terms of frames, sizes of the photographs, because of which, the eye was not distracted by different frames and shapes, and one could concentrate on the images.
The excellent brochure at the gallery gave details about how the photographs had been pasted and mounted, and I asked Abhishek how he had sourced the photographs. "From all over," was the reply. Some were from private collections, others from collections in organizations.
I liked the fact that the collection addressed far more than the usual "Taj-Mahal-Fatehpur-Sikri" group of photographs that we are all more (to use a pun!) exposed to. There were prints of Kanpur ("Cawnpore") and Madurai. I had a very enjoyable time, browsing through the images, and looking up intriguing ones in the brochure.
I asked Abhishek if, after working so hard to get the vintage photographs together, there had been at attempt to find a single buyer for all of them. He laughed, and I too realized what the likely total of all those photographs was likely to cost! He then told me that 35% of the photographs had already been sold.
I’m very impressed with each photography exhibition that I’ve seen at Tasveer; it’s definitely a gallery that does not stint on preparation or display. (I was sorry that I missed meeting T S Sathyan himself when I went to see his photographs )
I enjoyed the exhibition on several levels; seeing the images themselves and seeing how some places have changed, and some, not at all; appreciating the framing and display techniques at Tasveer; imagining how the photographers of yesteryears had a passion for documentation; musing over camera techniques of that era; the fact that it was, for the most part, the "goras" who documented the sights of our country in those early days, and also the fact that with just a few days to go, there was no one else at the show, and I could look to my heart’s content.
Another thought that I must mention…it is a great pity that, like other display spaces in Bangalore, Tasveer is also difficult to reach if one is dependent on public transport. This was one exhbition that was worthy of being displayed in a museum, and being seen by a much larger audience that the one that would come to the gallery.
The exhibition closes on the 28th, and will travel to Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Delhi. Abhishek says he has no plans of taking the collection abroad. ⊕