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Photographer Shibu Arakkal of Bengaluru trained his lens on the roof of an auditorium in the Singapore Botanical Garden because he was fascinated by the design elements of the composition. For Arakkal, the first raw image is a means to an interpretation, to the possibilities that lie in the subject rather than an end in itself.

He tried several techniques such as multiple layering, a partially solarised feel and a montage where he abruptly cropped the image and repeated it.

When that did not satisfy him, he went back to looking at simple mirror montages – which have become his trademark of sorts.

“I wasn’t sure about what I had shot or what it would transform into when I got home and spent some time with it – but when it eventually came together as this simple four-piece mirrored montage, it looked like something from another world. I liked very much that it looked so supernatural and so absolutely abstract. I also find interesting those particular greys in relation to the blacks and the forms in the work,” muses the artist.

This image, he declares, fits his notion that photography, although the most realistic of the two-dimensional visual art forms, can still be surreal or impressionistic or take on styles and become an interpretable art form (without much manipulation) as opposed to the conventional notion of it being just a tool for documentation.

Note: Shibu Arakkal is participating in an experimental group show ‘Living Art Expanse’. Curated by Sushma Bahl for the launch of a new gallery, Galeria de Arte at O’palacio in Delhi, the show runs until December 31.

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May 2020
11 May 2020