Ayesha Taleyarkhan’s New Photographic Art Series Reflects Community and Conflict


Ayesha Taleyarkhan’s freewheeling journey from analog photography to contemporary photographic art spans more than five decades, making her not only a true insider of the Indian photographic community, but also a recognized name on the coffee tables of Anand Mahindra, Martin Kriegner and Shobaa De (who, among other eminent personalities, are inveterate collectors of his fine books).

“I entered the world of photography in the era of black and white, then in the 80s and 90s, it was the glitzy side of advertising photography that attracted me,” says Taleyarkhan. Indeed, his work holds a mirror of his metamorphosis; a confluence of products, landscapes and experimental abstraction, equal parts heart, history and burning questions.

From cinema to digital

Taleyarkhan’s career reflected the evolution of the modern camera. “It was the time when photography was not digital; we used fast films like Kodachrome, Kodak Gold, Fuji Velvia, Plus x, Tri x designed for shooting in low light conditions. The prints could get grainy as they grew. Slower films were used for daylight, and the resolution was much better, so prints could be pumped up much larger before grain started to appear. had to be patient because after exposing a roll of film we had to wait a day or two before it was processed and we got to see the contact sheet There was so much impatience waiting to see if you had a beautiful photo,” says the artist. But the advantages of modern technology are not lost on Taleyarkhan: “Today, I can shoot a photograph in a few hours. And yet, going from film to digital means was co even change house; we tend to miss our old home. !”

Through integration, Taleyarkhan attempts to unpack the layers of conflict plaguing the communities around him

Alleys and balconies

After quitting his job as the very first photographer to Business India, Taleyarkhan followed a more meaningful path – in the most literal sense. “I roamed the alleyways of Mumbai in search of beautiful balconies. The diversity of architectural styles was fascinating. It was a shame they had never been documented, so I took the task on myself,” says -she. And so she did, carefully compiling the photos into a one-of-a-kind coffee table book she titled Beyond the balconies of Bombay. For Taleyarkhan, the book marked a new professional season, which would include four more books – each exploring a dark side of Mumbai – in the years to come.


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