Photographer Ajay Bhatia talks about his exhibition of works created by French architect Le Corbusier at Chandigarh
Q. When did your fascination for Le Corbusier begin?
A. It began in 2012 when my photography started to evolve and assume new dimensions. I belong to Chandigarh and it was natural for me to explore my roots. Initially, I took pictures, by standing and clicking but later I found a deeper connection with its spaces and buildings, and was keen to translate the aesthetics of light and shade. Le Corbusier's Towards a New Architecture opened my mind too.
Chandigarh High Court
Q. What do you find most interesting about his idea of modern architecture?
A. The most interesting idea is how everything is planned. There is no chaos, no disorder. His urban designs are magnificent. He conceived the idea of Chandigarh as a city like a human being — a living, breathing space. The capitol complex is the 'head' of the body. On its right hand is the university, which represents education and enlightenment. On its left hand lies the industrial complex, which represents occupation and livelihood. The middle of the city — the 'heart' is sector 17 — the market area where people socialise. The leisure valley runs throughout the city and you are never far from greenery. It is incredible how the space was conceived.
The Open Hand monument created by Le Corbusier located in Chandigarh
Q. What do you hope to capture through this series: 'The Play of Light'?
A. This is the third time I'm doing this series on Chandigarh. The first time I'd shown an overview of its landmarks. For the second show, I'd used wide-angle lenses to capture buildings from end to end. But this time, I aim to highlight the geometry of the buildings. I'm focusing on primary forms such as cones and cubes to echo Le Corbusier's idea of using such pure forms in architecture.
Q. How long have you worked on this series of photographs?
A. I've been working on this series since 2012 but most of the photographs were from one special day. It was in mid-October last year when the capitol complex was to be lit up to commemorate Le Corbusier's death anniversary. I had bought a new Leica lens and took pictures in the morning, evening, and at night when the complex was lit up for the first time. I had the space to myself because the few who had come to observe gradually went away.
Photographer Ajay Bhatia
Q. What is your opinion of Mumbai's architecture? Will you be interested in capturing the city in the future?
A. I would love to. After I left school, when I was 15-16 years, I'd travelled to Mumbai, having heard of it as a glamorous, romantic city. I still have many flashes of those youthful memories — getting off the local train at VT (CST) of walking to Colaba, seeing the Gateway, and roaming around Nepean Sea Road. There were Irani restaurants and cafés at the time. I'd love to do a series but it would have to be a grand project across 15-20 days. I look forward to photographing Mumbai in its immense beauty and complexity.
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