Artist captures picturesque Ladakh in photographs


NEW DELHI:  Infinite stretches of cold desert peppered with patches of green, the magnificent snow-capped mountains and the vibrant Buddhist culture of the Leh-Ladakh region have made their way to a photography exhibition here.

‘After the Elusive Light: Photographing Ladakh’ features photographs by Issac Tsetan Gergan, a local of the region, clicked over a period of seven years.

Selecting from an album of thousand photographs was a “challenging task”, Gergan said.

“The oldest photo in this exhibition is seven years old. Although the photographs have been taken at different times and places, I wanted to compile them in a way that it appears like a story. The exhibition is a celebration of the cultural legacy of the region that serves as a tourist attraction for many today,” the photographer said.

A quintessential feature of the region is the changing colour of the mountains as the sun sets – hues of brown, blue, grey and pink can be seen as clouds shift places in the sky.

Gergan’s ‘Shepherdess’ clicked in the backdrop of these colourful giant mountains, shows a herd of sheep guided by a Ladakhi woman.

Portraits of the tribal people in the region also form an important segment of the 29-year-old photographer’s collection on display.

For him portraits are integral to the city of Ladakh.

“They inject life into the landscapes,” he says.

“For me, it is the land that makes cultures, and brings different communities together. People are because of the land. My photographs reflect the change that Ladakh has been going through since the past decade,” he says.

From traditional festivals to the authentic attires and impact of tourism in the area, Gergan’s photographs weave a lesser known narrative about the region.

The photograph titled ‘Boots’ displays two pairs of Ladakhi dyed shoes placed outside a temple in Zangskar. The boots now worn only for special ceremonies, reflect a long past and culture of the Ladakhi people, says the artist.

A black and white portrait of an ‘Onpo’ or an astrologer, signifies their importance in the local culture.

“To photograph my native land has been one of the most rewarding experiences yet. While on long journeys through mountains, the world passes by very quickly, every now and then there is something that gets etched in your memory.

“It is easy to take a good photo in Ladakh due to the view it offers. But I do believe that an investment of time in travelling, listening and researching or learning what we photograph, gives the pictures an extended life and weight,” he says.

The exhibition is set to continue till July 11. (AGENCIES)


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