Ashvin Mehta

Ashvin Mehta was born in 1931. He was one of India’s most distinguished photographers, whom Larry Berryman called ‘a master of scale and a metaphysical poet among the artists’

In a career that spans several decades, he has excelled in various genres, including nature photography, destination photography, and the cityscape. His work has been collected in a series of books, including Himalaya: Encounters with Eternity (Thames & Hudson, London, 1985, 1991), Coasts of India (Thames & Hudson, London, 1987) Gifts of Solitude (Mapin, Ahmedabad, 1991), Happenings – Journal of Luminous Moments (Micro Inks – formerly Hindustan Inks, Vapi, Gujarat, 2003), Intimate Cityscapes (Archer, Ahmedabad, 2004) and Bicycle – a Celebration (Archer, Ahmedabad, 2006). His work has also been shown in the group exhibitions ‘Creative Eye’, curated by Raghu Rai (New Delhi, 1972); ‘Indian Photography: 1844-1984’, curated by Mitter Bedi (Darmstadt, 1984); and ‘Another Way of Seeing’ curated by Circle of 24 (The Netherlands, 1992). Mehta has also been engaged in a number of prestigious collective projects, including A Day in the Life of India (Collins, San Francisco, 1995), and the Festivals of India in Britain (1982), Russia (1990) and Germany (1991). He has been commissioned as a destination photographer by Singapore Airlines, the Oberoi Hotels and the India Tourism Development Corporation. He has also photographed the Indian medicinal plants for a monograph by Chemical Export Promotion Council (Chemexil), and the spices of India for the Taj Hotels. Mehta, who first exhibited his photographs in 1966, has since held exhibitions at the Jehangir Art Gallery , the Centre for Photography as an Art Form, and Gallery Chemould, Bombay; the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi and the Gardner Centre for the Arts, Brighton, Britain. Recently, his life-work ‘Celebrating the Timeless’ has been included in the permanent collection of IGNCA, New Delhi. It consists of 915 digitalised images, representing 13 distinctive series.

Mehta didn’t describe himself as a photographer. For him, his art was incidental to celebrating life. He did not look at the world around him as if he might miss something to capture and preserve. There were no shots so great to be missed; if they were captured in the mind’s eye, that was satisfaction in itself, and there were always other landscapes waiting to be seen. But when a camera was at hand, he let life roll in on his lens, showing us new facets of the sea that surrounds us, the trees that give us shade, the grass that sways around us, the rocks which mutely watch empires rise and fall.

He passed away in 2014.

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