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Colours of Discovery

Four photographers of Hungarian and Czech origin discovered India,and fell in love with it.

Written by Pallavi Pundir | Published: April 30, 2013 3:55 am

There is a burst of colours at the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre. Women cloaked in colourful garments,glints of silver on their bodies,with weather-beaten faces that glisten in the sun as they take a holy dip. In one corner,are eerie portraits of evening prayers in Varanasi,while the other holds a series of grim old men. These are photographs by Melinda Ruck,Borbala Szij,Katerina Svitilova and Ibolya Jeszenszky taken over the last three years in Varanasi,Pushkar,Old Delhi,Jaipur and Pondicherry. An exhibition of their wanderlust titled “Eyes that Capture” is their documentation of the country as they see it.

“I would be a lesser person if I hadn’t come here,” says Jeszenszky,an architect,whose fascination for portraits of old men in cities such as Pushkar and Old Delhi is a visual delight. Her favourite is “Ali Baba of Nizamuddin”,a man perched on the streets of Nizamuddin,covered with many pieces of jewellery. “To me,this is how Ali Baba would look like,” she says. Szij,on the other hand,has been in India for four years and,for want of a concept for the exhibition,went back to the December gang rape incident that shook the world. “It was a tragic event and later I realised that I have many photographs of women,” she says.

Ruck’s photography is a startling discovery of Northwest India. “There was an abundance of colours here. Last year,when I went to Varanasi,I attended my first puja . There was this combination of mysticism and colours that I love,” she says. An interesting part of her collection is her ode to family — four photographs of intimate,family portraits taken in Delhi slums and Amritsar.

Svitilova sums up their collective intrigue with the country. “In Europe,social life is not visible outdoors. But in India,you see public places as a space for intimate rituals,” she says. Her collection looks at holy men in Pushkar,Punjab and Varanasi.

The exhibition is on at the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre till May 3.

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