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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fear and Freedom –




Exhibition of Photographs by Shaju Subramanian


Photography is the most frustrating of occupations in today’s world. When everyone is a photographer happy clicking on digital cameras and mobile phones, how does a professional photographer find space and seek the attention of others with what is one’s bread and butter, and also life, blood and tears? In a world that is inundated with photographic images, can yet another image hope to signify something? Shaju Subramanian’s photograph exhibition at Trivandrum Press Club – Fear and Freedom – addresses this challenge by inviting the viewer to ponder and reflect upon that primal object of all imaging – the human body. Obviously, Shaju is not a photographer who revels in excess, but an intense observer who waits for the right light and moment and all the attendant risks and surprises. Placing the human body against our vision, these photographs invite us into a dialogue with the human form, one that is increasingly being devalued both by mental and physical intrusions – through the excess of digital/ized images that assault our minds and eyes, and the various prosthetic devices that invade our body.


At the centre is the body, our only and ultimate prison, only means for expression and exuberance, and the only vehicle to freedom as well as fear. These images of the naked male body celebrate its corpo-reality, as the world grinds its way through it, leaving its marks and signatures all over. Here, the body stretches, squirms, and writhes, as if engrossed in itself and creates abstract forms revealing the world in its bodily affects and effects. Pure and resplendent in its nakedness, the world is inscribed on it and the body itself becomes the eye and the object for the eyes of the beholder. Shunning the digital and its ‘post-shoot’ techniques, these images are moments of that enigmatic encounter between the lens and the body; and they work through variations in colour temperature, lighting and tonalities, mapping the most visceral and the abstract, or, History and his-story.


These images - often contorted, partial, and enclosed upon itself - are also an invitation to the freedom and exuberance of nudity; they open our vision into ourselves through our own bodies, naked and direct, plain, unmediated, freed and abstracted from its various shackles – of attire, backgrounds and settings. They are never placed against anything except the light that burns it and the darkness that looms all over. In their pristine solitariness, these images celebrate the body and its image, and in the process, the possibilities of freedom and also that of fear.

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