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A loving tribute to the spirit of Spiti

Staff Reporter

An unusual exhibition of photographs by Idris Ahmed

Photo: S. Subramanium

Black and white: Photographer Idris Ahmed posing with one of his photographs at the exhibition ‘Spiti: Daughter of the Sea’ in the Capital.

NEW DELHI: Capturing the synergy between an inaccessible place and its resilient inhabitants is an exhibition of photographs by Idris Ahmed now on at Alliance Francaise de Delhi here.

Titled “Spiti: Daughter Of The Sea…”, the six-day exhibition showcases black and white pictures of people and landscape and colour murals of monasteries.

A Delhi-based professional photographer, Idris Ahmed enjoys travelling in his 350 cc Royal Enfield Bullet bike to remote corners and capturing their picturesque beauty in his camera.

“While I was teaching in College of Media and Communications at Rai Foundation in Delhi in 2006, I got an unexpected break of ten days. So I searched the Internet and decided to travel to Spiti Valley which is in Himachal Pradesh. As it is on the border facing Tibet, the place is unique in terms of topography, culture and language.”

So Idris took a serendipitous detour into the Spiti Valley and was overawed by the stark landscape and the warmth of its people. “The love for the place was so much that I gave up my teaching job to follow my passion with the camera. The powerful synergy between the land and people is artfully captured with humility and a touch of humour. The show is a journey of self-discovery, as well as a loving tribute to the spirit of Spiti.”

The professional photographer was transported into a different world altogether while biking beyond the Kunzum La into the Valley for the first time. The stunning vistas that greeted him were almost unearthly in their pristine beauty. The sheer power of the high-velocity winds, the challenge of biking through boulder-strewn roads and dry river bed offered Idris a magnificent panorama.

As Idris biked through the Valley, complete strangers shared with him cups of buttery salted tea. “They offered their home and hearth. This gave me an excellent opportunity to peep into their everyday lives. The spontaneity, dignity and grace of the people, who were braving the odds against nature to earn their livelihood, were an unforgettable experience.”

Stating that the perfect harmony between the gorgeous yet intimidating landscape and its cheerful and reticent people stuck a deep chord in him, Idris says the mutual respect that men and mountain have for each other was something to ponder about.”

In the exhibition, Idris has depicted the raw appeal of the stark landscape, the warmth and welcome of strangers-turned-friends, the startling colour of ancient murals and donkeys patiently plodding across the snow.

Besides biking across the rugged mountains, Idris loves reading Mirza Ghalib’s works.

The exhibition is on till this Wednesday.

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