Rajasthan minus forts, royalty in coffee table book
Wildlife photographer Rajesh Bedi sought images of Rajasthan not commonly seen, and used hot air balloons and cameras on high-flying kites to frame in shots the majestic vastness of this arid landscape for a new coffee table book.
"Rajasthan has always been associated with royalty, forts and colours. These things have always dominated what has been documented before. My concept was different. The idea was to bring out the unseen side of this state," Bedi told IANS.
"The visual treatment of the subject here is different. We see the subject looking down from the air and it gives a picture, an entirely new dimension, once you experiment with the location. Looking at the sand dunes or shrubs from air lends a bit of mystery to the landscape," he said.
The coffee table book, "Rajasthan Under the Desert Sky", was launched Wednesday along with the exhibition of photographs at the Visual Arts Gallery in India Habitat Centre in the national capital.
Caption: An aerial shot of Rajasthan by Rajesh Bedi
While these aerial shots lend a different dimension to the photographic expertise, using different mediums -- hot air balloons, microlite (a variety of light aircraft) and kites -- to go up in the air along with the crew was in itself a challenge.
"Microlite is the best way to get these aerial shots, but it is quite expensive. At the same time, one depends on a lot of external factors like direction of the wind, location of subject and traffic in air too play a pivotal role," he said, adding they would go up 200 to 300 feet in the air to take a picture.
The book represents a cultural jamboree of this colourful state, where women look pretty in neon colours and tribal silver jewellery, and men wear pagris (headgear) in all possible hues.
As one browses through the book, one finds the picture of a woman feeding her child intriguing. The Rajputana clan considers it taboo to shoot pictures of women.
Caption: An aerial shot of Rajasthan by Rajesh Bediv
Bedi, however, has a way of convincing his subjects: "I would not just go to a local village and start clicking. I would spend a few weeks with them and explain the reason why I wanted to click such pictures. Once they were comfortable, I would take permission from the 'sarpanch' (village head) and husband of that woman."
"This is how this labour of love has finally come out," he added.
Published by Roli books, "Rajasthan Under the Desert Sky" is priced at Rs.3,500.
The photography exhibition at the India Habitat Centre is on till Aug 13.
(Posted on 09-08-2013)