// Madhur is a photographer based in New Delhi, India, who professionally shoots for advertising agencies in Delhi, specializing in product photography. His main area of interest, however, lies in photographing people and processing the images in an abstract impressionist style. We present some of his series “Sūnyatā – The Ultimate Void”.
After studying photography at the art institute “Triveni Kala Sangam” in Mandi House, New Delhi, Madhur started his career in photography in 1998. He keeps experimenting with new techniques and styles to make his images unique. Shooting both in studio and on the streets, handling both studio and ambient light artistically, he is a strong believer in photography being a lifelong affair with learning and experimenting. “Personally I tend to get bored soon doing similar images. As a photographer I have an inherent urge to continuously evolve both in style and technique,” he says. For Madhur, photography was a way to deal with his family´s trauma. “Photography came to me as a fulfillment of a void, which has plagued me from my childhood. I was born an only child to my parents in Delhi, into a family torn apart by the aftermath that followed the Partition of India and Pakistan in the year 1947. The exodus from our ancestral land in Pakistan was so sudden and hurried that my family had no choice but to flee overnight, leaving behind everything.” The traume his family experienced was transmitted to him, and “emptiness and restlessness become an integral part of me and you will find this reflecting in most of my images and style.”
His exhibitions and work have been acclaimed and published in India, Europe, Canada and the United States of America.
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”
What draws you to the arts?
“Art for me is my expression for that ‘Unexpressed’ and ‘The Unknown‘. Call it God if you please to do so. I firmly believe all forms of art spring directly from that source.”
What do you like best about abstract photo art such as the images you have shared with us?
“The images displayed here are the first in a series of a personal journey where I search answers to some fundamental questions about life, its meaning and purpose and then later my understanding about nature of ‘Reality’. This quest is taking me to every nook and corner of India meeting sadhus, monks, philosophers, scientists and charlatans alike. … Needless to say, restlessness, emptiness and a void are always at play, no matter how I approach my images.“
Madhur initially started with a starkly realist street photography, which has now given way to abstract, impressionist and painterly imagery. “Waiting endlessly for ‘the decisive moment’ does not attract me anymore.” He now likes to blur out images, faces, expressions and create movement in his own way, often using a Intentional Camera Movement technique. In post-processing he keeps in mind the mood and aesthetics of that particular image, using brushes, smudges, light and painterly effects to reach his vision. He takes lighting into consideration at the shooting stage, depending on the mood he wants to convey. Going very close to the subject remains an integral part of his style. “I can never ever forget the saying of Robert Capa ‘If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.‘“
I have no preconceived ideas on how I would end up editing a particular image. Each image is different and my treatment to that image goes accordingly.
Images of this story were shot in different regions of Ladakh and Zanskar, including ancient Buddhist Monasteries dating back more than 3000 years. These monasteries are located in the remotest regions of the Indian Himalayas. “Isolation resulting from the pandemic made me search rigorously for a style that I could call entirely my own. My current work is a result of that very search,” says Madhur. His philosophy of life and of the creation of the universe are lodged within Buddhist philosophical concepts, having had constant interaction with Vedic & Buddhist scholars and philosophers, which led to his understanding of the concept of a universe that is self- born and governed by the “eternal Law Of Cause and Effect or Karma”. Madhur´s understanding about Buddha’s concept of Shunyata – The Ultimate Void can be read up on his website. It influences the way he has conceived this photo project.
The photo art story that we are showing is part of a series of stories that he is working on in different parts of India. He plans to publish selected images from all these different stories as a part of a coffee table book titled “Entangled“.
Some images are cropped for lay-out. Please click on the photos to see a larger image in original proportions
ALL PHOTOS © MADHUR DHINGRA
As we can only show a small selection of Madhur´s photo art, we highly recommend looking at more of it in this video on his Youtube channel, where he presents a slideshow accompanied by The Sound of Silence, such a beautiful presentation that it left us in awe.