‘Musicscapes’: Visual upshot of music

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The mediator between the spiritual and sensual life stand poignantly captured by Shobha Deepak Singh’s lens eye in her spectacular coffee table compilation – “Musicscapes” – an anthology of 250 photographs of great Indian music maestros, emoting the multiple emotions of Indian music.

From this collection, an exhibition of 60 photographs of the country’s music luminaries, curated by Alka Pande, will be on till April 14 at India Habitat Centre.

‘Musicscapes’, which follows close on the heels of Shobha Deepak Singh’s Theatrescapes (2014) and Dancescapes (2013), was launched by former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit here on Friday.

The photographs are “beautifully crafted” and are “great reminders of the passage of time” in which a lot of us have been, Dikshit said.

“In my entire life, I have performed just once. I learnt all these art forms for my own education,” Shobha Deepak Singh told IANS.

Her proximity to the cultural maestros of the country and her complete fearlessness around technology endow her creations with a distinct character.

“I realised that though the musical notes are the same, Indian music is unique because it is evolved and sophisticated,” she said.

“When I did my first two books ‘Dancescapes’ and ‘Theatrescapes’, I thought I had covered the canvas of emotion and motion.”

“As I looked through many of these photos, I felt as if I was singing with them,” she said.

“What classical music does best and continues to do, is to show a kind of transformation of moods, to show a very wide psychological voyage,” she added.

“Growing up in a family that gave passionate patronage to the arts, I found boundless joy in performances by eminent musicians, hosted in my very own home,” she said.

The stalwarts, who find pride of place in “Musicscapes” include Abdul Rashid Khan, Ajoy Chakrabarty, Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali Khan, Anoushka Shankar, Ashwini Bhide, Bhimsen Joshi, Bhuvanesh Komkali, Bismillah Khan, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, Gangubai Hangal, Girija Devi, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jasraj, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Kishori Amonkar, Kumar Gandharva, Rashid Khan, Ravi Shankar, Shivkumar Sharma, Shubha Mudgal, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Zakir Hussain, panning a quarter of a century, capturing myriad moments.

“Just as Shobha Deepak Singh has painstakingly documented them, I have painstakingly selected 43 of these great legends who are resplendent in the images for the purpose of the exhibition,” said Alka Pande.

This is a survey of her work as she captures moments, iconic and unusual, greats rubbing shoulders with greats, candids and portraits, she added.

“What seems to me to be the most difficult to shoot is the art of the dancer, the musician and the actor. Its fragility and fleeting quality brooks no repetition, no intrusion, no second and third takes, certainly no press of the ‘back’ button to recover that image, so heart achingly beautiful, so profound but now gone foreve,” said Dancer Shanta Serbjeet Singh.

“It is this art in which Shobha has specialised, taking pictures that help you recover the magic of that special, solitary live moment when you and the artist were one. In her entirely self-taught journey she has, no doubt, stepped on many toes, some of them acclaimed such as those of Ebrahim Alkazi who presents her current show,” she added.

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