What struck me most about William Dalrymple's photographs, at first sight, was how light arrested them, sculpting landscapes of fields, women in market squares, a collection of boulders down to their essence. Accentuating the darkness that bordered them, their shapes revealed in exactitude, they were sometimes melancholy, often solitary.
The photos also reminded me of the compositional velocity a writer can bring to the process of picture-making: you imagine something perfectly, then accidentally encounter it on the street. I have come to look at photographs not only as representative of place and time, but as apertures to imagined worlds and unfamiliar realities. The photographs in 'The Writer's Eye' do exactly that: enticing you to visit what you have never seen so you become what you never were. Touched and transformed by what the eye meets, here are potent documents of solitude and beauty.
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'The Writer's Eye: Photographs by William Dalrymple', curated by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, opens at Sunaparanta: Goa Centre for the Arts on 18 March; at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi, on 29 March; and at Grosvenor Gallery, London, on 23 June. 'The Writer's Eye' is supported by Dattaraj and Dipti Salgaocar.
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