Revelation of Delhi’s Heritage

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Seizing the essence and the beauty of the historic monuments in a panoramic view, Nandit Desai showcased his first ever exhibition ‘Delhiscope’ in the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Inspired by Delhi’s architectural heritage he magnificently portrayed hidden layers, which add beauty to the heritage of Delhi. “Photography has been my major passion since a very early age. I wanted to combine my knowledge of panoramic photography and incorporate my understanding of light to capture scintillating pictures with a new perspective and interesting play of light”, says Nandit Desai. In an exclusive interview with One World News, Nandit expresses more about himself and his exhibition.

‘Delhiscope’, how did you come up with such a name?

My uncle came up with the name. He felt the photographs give a grand view of Delhi. So he mixed Delhi with telescope to get ‘Delhiscope’.

How did photography interest you?

I was always interested in visual arts. Since childhood, I used to draw and paint and would take snapshots from our old Kodak KB-10 camera on family trips. As time passed-by, my fondness for photographs developed as I felt that they have the power to preserve.

I got a chance to explore my uncle’s Pentax K-1000, a film SLR and used it for a couple of years to understand the basics of photography such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc. Finally, my parents gifted me my first DSLR, a Canon 500D with an 18-55mm lens in 2010. I still use the same equipment.

When did you start?

I started as a child as far as taking photos is concerned. But I started taking photography seriously (as a hobby) somewhere in 2008.

Did you always want to be a photographer?

Being a photographer was never on my mind. But my interest towards visual arts and my tryst with the camera did propel me towards this field. Today, after a short journey of over 5 years, I have done a few professional assignments. But I still consider photography as primarily my hobby as it allows me to think freely as an artist and I enjoy doing my work like a student, not like a burdened professional.

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Who has been your inspiration?

A few people have played a major role in the way my journey has shaped up so far.

• My maternal uncle who’s an architect and a keen artist/ cartoonist. His aesthetic work resulted in my affinity towards architecture. It was his SLR on which I first practiced and learnt photography.

• Amit Pasricha, an ace panoramist. His book “The Sacred India Book” and “The Monumental India Book” propelled me towards exploring the vast field of panoramic photography. His photographs have influenced me the most. Moreover, he has also been mentoring me for a long time now.

• Avinash Pasricha, a pioneer of Indian performing arts photography. Having grown up seeing his work- photographs of renowned classical singers, instrumentalists and dancers, it has had a major impact on the way I capture performing arts today.

• Brijendra Agrawal: A CA by profession, Mr. Agrawal has been an avid photographer for over 30 years and has mentored me since I first held an SLR. He has been instrumental in helping me develop a sharp eye and perceive a deep and complex understanding of photography technicalities.

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• Amit Chawla: A professor at Amity University, Mr Chawla taught me photography for one semester (out of two) and helped me grow my interest in photography by letting me work freely on my photography projects.

• My parents who have always supported me.

How would you describe the camera? What kind of person are you behind camera and in front of camera? How would you define the relationship between you and camera?

A camera is an instrument to capture and preserve memories. For me, it is an extension of my body; my eyes to be precise. What I see, I cage it through my camera. I have to take care of it the way I take care of myself. I sometimes feel that my camera has life in it and has a mind of its own. Often, when I go for long shoots, my camera stops cooperating to the settings I use and I have to rest it for around thirty minutes or so, before I resume. It’s a fun relationship. It’s like my constant companion.

I’m pretty much the same person in front or behind the camera. I enjoy taking in the sights wherever I am and being behind my camera simply makes it more joyous because I can preserve what I see.

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Where do you see yourself in next 5-10 years?

In the next five to ten years, I see myself travelling as much as I can, working on my ongoing projects on a more large scale. Expanding my photographic knowledge & genres and hopefully working for a reputed organization such as the National Geographic

How do you de-stress yourself?

I have a lot of other hobbies apart from photography. I love reading fiction. Amitav Ghosh and Dan Brown are one of my favorites. In comics, I’m literally a Tintin and Asterix expert. I enjoy watching films, from Hollywood to Indian films. I love listening to primarily Hindustani classical, Progressive rock, jazz and folk music. I play the tabla, drums, djembe, morchang, and other percussion instruments. I am also a huge cricket enthusiast and can watch test cricket for hours.

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What message would you like to convey to our readers?

I believe in being a responsible citizen. We cannot bring in a change overnight. So, what we should do is do our bit and spread awareness without preaching. If we follow traffic rules, avoid littering in public places and avoid indulging in such activities with an indifferent attitude, I feel we all can make a difference.

Picture Courtesy : Nandit Desai

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