Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Images of a pre-modernized India by Derry Moore at ICIA

An exhibition of photographs by renowned British photographer Derry Moore, entitled 'Evening Ragas' courtesy Tasveer takes place at Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA) in Mumbai. On display are over 60 limited edition signed prints from an ongoing project that he started in the country in 1976 during a series of purposeful visits.

Derry Moore was primarily influenced by his studies with Oskar Kokoshka and subsequently Bill Brandt. He made his name photographing the interiors and portraits on the European aristocracy, including those of Queen Elizabeth II and the late Queen Mother. Following his education at Eton, he studied painting at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria, and later took up photography lessons under the guidance of the Bill Brandt.

His work appears in such magazines as Town & Country, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Men's Vogue, Nest and Country Life. He has published over a dozen books, notably Evening Ragas documenting ‘a changing India from 1976-1992’, ‘The Dream Come True’ (Great Houses of Los Angeles), ‘The Englishman's Room’, and, most recently, ‘Great Gardens of Italy’ with Monty Don. Moore has published over a dozen books and his photographs can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The National Portrait Gallery, London, The Royal Collection and the Bibliotheque Nationale, as well as in numerous private collections.

The subjects of his India series combine portraits, interiors and landscapes, and poignantly document what may be the last relics and aesthetics of a pre-modernized India. As the photo-artist reveals, “To take most of these photographs today would be impossible, so much of India having changed beyond recognition over the past 22 years. This is apparent not only in the buildings, which have been largely replaced by tower blocks in a style that it would be charitable to describe as ‘international mediocrity’, but also in the people, who are increasingly losing individuality in their looks.

“If I were asked what I look for when I take a photograph, the answer would be surprise. When I think back to 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. That said, when found, the occasions are just as exciting; it’s rather like fishing in an increasingly emptied sea.”

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