Ajay Bhatia Captures The City of Light

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Paris is often considered the Mecca of Art and Culture. Artists and intellectuals have flocked to the French capital for several generations in search for inspiration. The city, in turn, has often played muse to these thinkers and been immortalised in their works. The Chandigarh-based photographer Ajay Bhatia, who has spent years documenting architecture across India, turned his lens towards Paris to create a photographic record of the city over one day. The resulting exhibition “City of Light, One Day in Paris” was on display in the gallery at Alliance Française de Chandigarh from March 23, 2018 to April 7, 2018.

An image of the Eiffel Tower from Ajay Bhatia's exhibition "City of Light, One Day in Paris" at AF Chandigarh

An image of the Eiffel Tower from Ajay Bhatia’s exhibition “City of Light, One Day in Paris” at AF Chandigarh

“City of Light, One Day in Paris” includes a series of photos which capture the streets of Le Marais, quaint cafés and pâtisseries preparing to open for the day, Musée Picasso, Centre Pompidou, the Louvre, museums and galleries, local landmarks, and various facets of the river Seine amongst others. The goal was to take photographic impressions of the interplay of light with the old world charm of the city. Ajay strived to capture this interplay as accurately as possible in tune with what Bresson called the ‘decisive moment’ – the moment of pressing the shutter to capture perfect framing, focus, exposure, and white balance.

A map highlighting the spots where the photos were taken

A map highlighting the spots where the photos were taken

The exhibition was a true labour of love and marks a full circle for Ajay who often dreamed of travelling abroad when he was younger but lacked the means to pursue these dreams. He discovered France through the cinema of the Nouvelle vague and the prose of Molière and Balzac. To capture as many photos of Paris as possible during the span of one day, Ajay chose the hop-on-hop-off boat Batobus as his primary mode of transportation. This allowed him to explore the landmarks which were close to the banks of the river Seine and the unique summer light which lit the river and its bridges.

An image from the exhibition

An image from the exhibition

As a photographer, Ajay’s first love remains Chandigarh – a city on which he has organised four exhibitions to date. He claims that this is the only Indian metropolis with a European ethos which is reflected in the sense of order, cleanliness, and planning imbibed by the city since its very inception. While he has travelled to France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and different parts of India, he hopes to continue exploring the forms and hues offered by Chandigarh in the years to come.

Siddharth Bhatt

Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...