Home Conservation Reviews Book Reviews Let there be Light: Exploring nature through light


Let there be Light: Exploring nature through light

October 2009: Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.  – George Eastman 


In this age of digital photography and photoshop editing, many people mistakenly believe that the art of photography is dead or dying. Nothing can be further from the truth. And Mahesh Nair’s brilliant works, packaged in this exquisitely put together coffee table book, underscores this fact in the best way possible – through images that make use of light in magical ways. In his own words:


When I first tried my hand at photography, the notion of the photograph as a mechanical reproduction of a scene versus being a digital output of art fascinated me. My experimentation was aimed at determining if the photograph could transcend the reality reproduction without moving into purely computer manipulated images… with nature as my subject, I found that I could easily use known techniques and play with natural light to create scenes that were very dramatic.


An engineer by training, Nair quit the corporate world after two decades to take up photography full time. Apart from his love for the camera and his obvious joy at being out in the wilds he says he would like to see his images inspire people and be moved to protect wild nature.


His images are accompanied by texts that have been sensitively edited by Dr. Alka Pande, Consultant Art Advisor and Curator, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre. Interestingly, the texts take the form of commentaries written by individuals who were invited to react to Nair’s works. The impressive list of writers includes Paresh Maity – Artist: “… an artist’s imagination and ability to visualise the effect of light and shadow on an object without looking at it is what differentiates the ordinary from the extraordinary artist.” Paulo Marcos de Moraes – Brazilian Diplomat: “What stands out in Mahesh’s book, with several photographs from Ladakh is the fact that, just like the first scientist-photographers, he works his photographs as if manipulating a mirror.” Prof. Yash Pal – Astrophysicist: “The secrets of light and colour are a fascinating, never-ending discovery. What we know today is just a fraction, a mere glimpse of the knowledge waiting to be discovered.” Dr. Naveen Sakhuja – Opthalmologist: “Radiant, shine, lustre, brilliant, vivid…. Such words would have no meaning had it not been for a tiny part of us (the eye) measuring only one inch in diameter.” Cinematographer: Lakshmi Vishwanathan – Bharatanatayam exponent: “When we venture into the world of visuals we enter a world where moments are discovered and preserved in their original essence. Dance, after all, imitates Nature. And therein lies the secret of Dance!” and, of course, Mahesh Nair himself.


The images are stunning. The care that has gone into the production of the book is impressive. And the creative juices that have been installed between the covers jump out at you. Nair’s desire to “rekindle in everyone the urge to reach out and experience the beautiful world and remind them that we are nothing but custodians to preserve it for our future generations,” will surely find resonance with Sanctuary readers. Ed.


Photographs by Mahesh Nair,
Edited by Dr. Alka Pande,
Published by Lustre Press / Roli Books,
Hard cover, 184 pages,
Price: not listed, contact
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