Born in Mumbai, sixty-one-year-old self-taught photographer Jagdish Thakersey spent his early childhood studying in a boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayas. While he went on to join his family business, he still pursued photography as his hobby and taught himself the mechanics of manual cameras and the art of composing pictures. During his journeys, he began documenting the scenes, facades and landscapes that he observed.
This week, catch a glimpse of some of his best images at the exhibition, Monochrome Moments. “The exhibition showcases a collection of my work of many years. Culled from thousands of photographs, the subjects presented here are as varied as a pagoda on a cliff in Bali to a beach in California and a viewpoint at the hill station of Mahabaleshwar,” explains the photographer.
He admits that during his early years in the Himalayas, he started to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of nature. Unlike his vibrant subjects, Thakersey’s style of photography veered towards black and white images: “With the advent of digital technology in the 1990s and inspired by 1950s Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli, I began editing my photographs to reflect this signature black and white style.”
He has sought inspiration from several famous black and white photographers such as Ansel Adams, Man Ray, Sally Mann, Henri Bresson, Zoltan Nagi, Helmut Newton, and Raghu Rai.
Challenge on canvas
He admits that it’s a challenge to effectively use stark black and white post-processing technology. “The black and white and occasional gray scale photographs highlight the usual in unusual ways.
What unifies a series as diverse as this one is the feeling of peace and tranquility reflected in the photos; the sense of viewing capturing moments of stillness.” He adds that monochrome photography accentuates in many ways what colour does not, and the stark black and white instills a character in the photographs very different from what one sees today. “But there is never a limit to creativity, whether it is monochrome or colour. It rests on the levels of imagination, interest and perseverance,” reminds Thackersey.
His first solo show was at the Barcelona Design Gallery (Barcelona, 2009); he has also displayed his work at the Chianciano International Award for Photography and Digital Art (Italy, 2010) where he received two awards for his monochrome frames. Thakersey has displayed his work at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival (2011) while some of his work is on display at the arrival lounge of Mumbai's domestic airport.
The artist believes that there is a growing interest in this form: “History repeats itself. I feel the same about photography. This is an older style of photography, which I admire and which is rarely seen today. It will probably be in vogue in the near future.” The proceeds from this exhibition will go for the medical treatment of needy patients at a city hospital.