Jeweller-turned-photographer Sudhir Kasliwal has trained his lens on his home state, Rajasthan, one of the most photographed states in the country. While it is difficult to get a bad photograph from Rajasthan, the paradox is that most photographers aren't able to go beyond the stereotypical images either. In Kasliwal's recent work, on display in Delhi from April 9, the photograph of a rural woman enjoying a smoke is at once stark and reflective. In another frame, four men with their quintessential colourful turbans pose casually lined up on a stone bench, and in yet another one, a group of villagers and their camels kick up dust in the desert at twilight. The tones are muted and earthy, an attempt to dig deeper into life and landscape.
Kasliwal has been photographing the desert state for nearly half a century, inspired at a young age by Father Ryan who taught him in school. His work spans forms—pictorial, journalistic, portrait, art, travel and abstract. Apart from the rural interiors, he is fascinated by the seasonal fairs and festivals, lives, cultures, tribes and communities.
Kasliwal was earlier commissioned by the Rajasthan government to shoot aerial pictures of Jaipur for a special brochure to be presented to Bill Clinton during his presidential visit. In 2009, he won accolades for curating an exhibition of 255 rare and exquisite photographs of Rajmata Gayatri Devi at a jewellery show in Jaipur. In 2014, he was awarded the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh Award for excellence in photography.
The exhibition, Wander.lens, will be on till April 17 at Bikaner House in Delhi.