Category Archives: Visual Culture

Bharath Ramamrutham: On Architectural Photography

In conversation with photographer Bharath Ramamrutham, we discuss architectural photography as a discipline and a passion, and the various processes underlining a meaningful photograph.  


The following text is the edited transcript from the interview with Bharath Ramamrutham, conducted on July 10th, 2020.


I. Origins [00:15]: 

Bharath Ramamrutham [BR]: I grew up in a very simple traditional family. I was very fortunate because my father – an engineer and a marketing man – had a very keen sense of design. He also had an abiding interest in architecture, as well as photography.

I remember when I was about 14 years old, I asked him to get me a camera and he bought me an Agfa Click 3 (one of those really old-fashioned things, then for 35 rupees). It used to shoot monochrome film. We converted one of the bathrooms at home into a dark room and he bought an enlarger. We started processing film and making prints at home. He also travelled a lot around the world and Continue reading Bharath Ramamrutham: On Architectural Photography

Portraiture: ‘Movie Theaters’ and ‘Churches’

By reading into the cultural environment of the sixties and seventies, and the rise of a range of affinities in architecture that emerged in the wake of Independence in India, two pictorial essays by Stefanie Zoche and Sabine Haubitz document a part of a larger cultural zeitgeist. The essays focusing on the essentialised photographs of facades of single screen movie theatres and churches in South India propose a common ground – an enquiry into what they refer to as ‘Hybrid Modernism’. 


In India, architecture evolves in a palimpsestic disposition, especially in the rurban areas. Historical, provincial, aspirational layers exist in this pluralistic built landscape. The development of modern architecture in India succeeding the influences of international style made a gradual headway from 1920s and -30s and pronouncedly was acknowledged with Le Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh. While post-independence architecture in India is largely attributed to modern architecture, it belongs to perhaps only a fraction of the built landscape. Architecture in the remaining paradigm is countered by a gentler transition, more self-conscious and self-referential, consolidated socially and culturally. Familiar and immediate frames of references are appropriated and contextualised at a local level. Moreover, it is not homogeneous across the country but exists in complex crossovers.

Continue reading Portraiture: ‘Movie Theaters’ and ‘Churches’

DRAWING TO FIND OUT [06]: PERCY ADIL PITHAWALA

Percy Adil Pithwala’s practice moves through intersections in art and architecture. While analysing his work at the Red Studio in Vadodara, we discuss and discover his way of looking at drawing – the abstract and the architectural. 


Images and Drawings: Courtesy Percy Adil Pithawala
Author: Vedanti Agarwal
Curation & Film: Matter

Percy Pithawala has developed a unique approach to architectural practice over the years. Situated between pedagogy, art and architecture, his practice forages for intersections, unions and relationships between the three fields with ideas moving fluidly between the three. Percy Pithawala transitioned from working on conventional architecture projects to testing new grounds in competitions, abstract explorations and experimental pedagogy. While growing into both an artist and an architect, Percy closely engaged with ‘drawing as art’ from his schooling years at Pratt University, New York. His process engages with various modes, methods and mediums of drawing, some meant to bring about resolution in thought, while others: a vivid intuitive activity; each one producing expressive outcomes. Continue reading DRAWING TO FIND OUT [06]: PERCY ADIL PITHAWALA

IMPACT: DESIGN THINKING AND THE VISUAL ARTS IN YOUNG INDIA

CURATED BY CHATTERJEE & LAL

The post-independence period in India witnessed the beginning of a new design culture with the founding of quality institutions and initiatives in arts, crafts and cultural projects across India. In the quest for a unique modern identity, the architecture and design trajectory of an independent India aspired to establish a significant voice in the making of a new kind of society. In this context, the exhibition: IMPACT: Design Thinking and the Visual Arts in Young India attempts to foreground the radical design discourse in India in the 20th century, featuring select works of individuals, groups and organisations at the intersection of art, craft and design.   

Mitter Bedi (1926-1985) | Godrej Chairs c.1970 | Image Courtesy: Mitter Bedi Collection, Godrej Archives

Continue reading IMPACT: DESIGN THINKING AND THE VISUAL ARTS IN YOUNG INDIA

DRAWING TO FIND OUT [05]: SHUBHRA RAJE

Shubhra Raje, principal architect of shubhra raje_built environments closely engages with different drawing practices within her studio. By excavating and analysing visual material in Shubhra’s studio, we attempt to decipher the draftsmanship cultures, their relationship with the design process and the way in which they inform her practice.


Images and Drawings: Courtesy Shubhra Raje
Author: Vedanti Agarwal
Curation and Film: Matter.

Shubhra Raje’s practice emphasizes the act of drawing as a means of critical thinking. Her rigorous drawing habit traces back to schooling years at CEPT University, where drawing by hand was ingrained in the academic rigour. However, her perceptions on the necessity to draw as a mode of thinking (as against drawing to represent) evolved through learnings during her time at the Cornell University. Representational drawings command a style that is conscious of its viewers. Design-thinking drawings are undisturbed collaterals between the engaged hand and the searching mind, oblivious of another eye. The scale of Shubhra’s practice enables her to engage with all stages of drawing in the design development process.

Continue reading DRAWING TO FIND OUT [05]: SHUBHRA RAJE