On a trigger-happy note

Solo show

As a person who didn’t delete any photograph he shot, it took a long time to convince photographer Jaideep Samarth to display his photographs in public.

“I never deleted the photographs I took. I kept them all. Over a period of time, people told me to display them. It took me 15 years to agree,” says Samarth while referring to his friend and curator Manju Mayor who helped him put together the show.

Exploring his childhood interest in photography, which took root during his days at Mayo College in Ajmer, Samarth has been clicking photographs for more than 20 years now.

Samarth who clicks without a theme and doesn’t restrict himself to portraits or landscapes likes describing his clicking as ‘trigger happy’– which also happens to be the title of his solo show at India Habitat Centre. “There is no theme because I have shot frames that I liked – whether people, landscapes or architecture. ‘Trigger happy’ stems from there,” the 67-year-old tells Metrolife.

From Tibet’s monks to villages in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan’s colours, Samarth has shot frames, mostly on his travels.

“For me, photography was not a creative pursuit. It was just something I enjoyed. I travel a lot by road. Whenever  I saw something interesting, I’d just go ahead and shoot it. If it didn’t work, I’d just not print it. In this digital age you can afford to experiment,” explains Samarth who has spent his professional life in the non-creative side of advertising.

As he still prefers not calling himself a “tech-savvy photographer”, he believes most of the shots are “instinctive”. “I am not a technical person or even conscious about my shooting. Many of the pictures I’ve shot are with non-DSLR cameras.

Some of the earlier 35mm film cameras I used did not even have exposure meters to guide one on shutter speeds and apertures. One just shot a frame hoping that one got the aperture and shutter speeds right, and then waited with bated breath to see the results. That’s how I learnt the basics,” avers the Mumbai-based photographer.

While his sister and veteran actor Tanuja came to support, he says unlike his family which has earned a name in the field of art, he never showed a sign to be creatively inclined. “As I never considered myself a part of the creative world. I wanted to test people’s reactions (on the exhibit) and it has been fulfilling,”says Samarth.

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