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A tribute to Master of the lens

Sept 27, 2012 DHNS 23:43 IST
Rare moment The Mother playing Tennis.
Delhi is playing witness to some of the finest works by the late celebrated legend Henri Cartier-Bresson, considered to be the father of modern photo -journalism.

‘Mastering the Lens: Before and After Cartier-Bresson’ in Pondicherry, which opened on September 15, at the Alliance Francaise will go on till the end of the month. The exhibition is dedicated to the late Martine Franck, Bresson’s wife and companion of 34 years, who succumbed to cancer in August last. The exhibition has been curated based on the photographer’s visit to Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry during ’50s.

At the core of this initiative is an unbound and unpublished album of Cartier-Bresson, who visited Aurobindo Ashram in April 1950. He clicked the last pictures of Sri Aurobindo Ghose in the company of his spiritual companion ‘The Mother’.

According to Rahaab Allana, the curator at Alkazi Foundation, “It is an attempt to briefly trace the development of photography in Pondicherry spanning the late 19th and early 20th century. These photographs show his experimental items on Pondicherry. He has also shown the influence of France in India post independence in smaller regions like Pondicherry.”

Featuring 60 photographic works, the exhibition is a collaborative effort along with the Embassy of France. The photographs showcased include the historic exchanges that took place when Cartier-Bresson met some of India’s most important philosophers Sri Aurobindo, together with the Mother. The photographer and his wife, were among the privileged few to be admitted into the Ashram.

Cartier-Bresson’s photographs give viewers a peek into the personal lives of the philosopher and his spiritual companion and their activities showing not only their dedication but also their reception and responsibility to the cause of human understanding and creative development.

The centuries-old black and white photos bring alive the beauty of Pondicherry, wonderfully capturing the lives of its people.

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