The dance of shadows inside the tomb

Try to grasp it and you will fail, for the patterns that sunlight creates through the filigree on window appear and vanish like ripples in water. 
 
It is the urge to capture these momentary effects that drew adman Aadil Jamal to Humayun’s Tomb all through last winter. 
 
What he documented is displayed as the photography exhibition ‘Ramaq – The Dance of Filigree at Dusk’.     

“About two years back, I realised that I had been driving past the Humayun’s Tomb since my 18 years of living in the city and never been inside it. 

It was as if the monument beckoned me. So, one Saturday I picked up my camera to shoot its interiors. 
 
From the collection of images, I later discovered one particular picture which captured this dance of filigree at dusk and opened Pandora’s Box for me,” recollects Aadil who then dedicated his evenings to the tomb to capture every bit of the intricate patterns that the shadows left on the floors.

He mentions that the shooting time was only 10 minutes each evening before it got dark and the play of shadows timed out. 
 
“Since I photographed during the dying moment of the sun, I named my exhibition Ramaq (the glow of the last few moments),” he reveals adding that none of the images are titled since he doesn’t want the viewers to limit their imagination as per his definition of the work.

What he likes, instead, is to talk about them. “I am a narcissist when it comes to my photographs,” he laughs and confesses that the vertical shot of filigree at Nai-ka-Gumbad (Barber’s Tomb) is one of his favourites from the 14 displayed at the venue. 

“The shadow appears to create a carpet on the floor in this one. But I purposely went beyond the main building for it has been photographed from all possible angles since ages.” 
 
He has even taken one picture at Isa Khan Niyazi’s tomb while the rest are shot inside the main complex, including the one where he lets his daughter enter the frame to “give a perspective of the jalee work to the viewer. I thought her presence would disturb the pattern but it, instead, enhanced it.” 

Even though taken from similar angles, the light weaves different patterns and provides an interesting palette of orange, yellow and white tones with a little interference of green from the foliage outside. 

It is, however, not done deliberately by the self-taught lensman but due to the physical properties of different stones used in the monument. 

An observer thus gets fascinated by the varied hues in which the setting sun greets the tomb of the dead and narrates the story of a journey in one picture after the other. 

“There are actually two journeys,” elucidates Aadil, “One is your perspective of the changing shadows, while the other is the journey of the Sun that is travelling and creating patterns.” 
 
It not just sounds poetic but also compels the viewer to visit Humayun’s Tomb and play hide and seek with sunlight at dusk.

The photographs are on display at Delhi ‘O’ Delhi Foyer at India Habitat Centre till 
April 30.

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