The portrait of Evening Ragas
British photographer Derry Moor's photographs from early 1976 till date capture the changing landscapes of India and its people
Picture this, literally: The year is 1976, British and European architecture dotted the pre-modernised Indian landscape. Photographer Derry Moor’s tryst with the portraits, interiors and landscape shots started around the same time, and since then, he has captured the changing “sensibilities that exist in the way people look and the places they live in.” His works, titled Evening Ragas, are on display at Tasveer at the Institute of Contemporary Indian Arts (ICIA), till today.
“The photographs from my Evening Ragas series were taken during a series of visits to India that started in early 1976. My initial idea had been to photograph some of the places whose days, I knew, were numbered. In the event, what fascinated me were not simply the places themselves but also the hybrid quality of many of the lesser buildings that had been constructed since the first arrival of the British in India. It would be impossible to take most of these photographs today, India has changed beyond recognition over the past 22 years,” says Moor, adding that this observation is not restricted to buildings, but also in the people, who are increasingly losing individuality in their looks.
“During my early visits to India, I remember being in a constant state of surprise and corresponding awareness. Today, I must actively seek out subjects to a far greater extent. It’s rather like fishing in an increasingly emptied sea,” says the resident of Notting Hill, who is influenced by his studies with artists Oskar Kokoschka and subsequently Bill Brandt.
And the project is ongoing, as he made a trip to India early this year, and made some new work for the series. Primarily in tones of black and white, Moor says the medium gives a good level of control for the tones in the darkroom. “It keeps coherence between my earlier work in the country, and my work today.”
When: 11 am to 7 pm, today
Where: Institute of Contemporary Indian Arts (ICIA), Kala Ghoda