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Moon over: Stunning shots of Earth's favourite satellite through its 28 phases

Rajeev Khanna | Updated on: 8 April 2017, 19:51 IST
(Photo: Madhu Pandit)

Do you find yourself staring at the moon every night, pointing out its 28 phases to all willing to listen? If yes, do pay a visit to India International Centre in New Delhi and experience ‘Mehnaaz – The Moon’, a photo collection by Madhu Pandit that will be on display from 11 to 19 April.

The 34 works, clicked by Pandit over a period of one year, were earlier displayed in Chandigarh and Mumbai. She has captured the 28 phases of the moon across various locations in 'City Beautiful' Chandigarh. The state capital is the youngest city designed by Le Courbusier, the Swiss-French architect.

Madhu Pandit’s affair with the moon dates back to her childhood 'Mehnaaz' is an ode to her love - mystical, spiritual and poetic. The works beckon Delhi residents to come and experience her spiritual and metaphysical journey while shooting the moon with the precision of her camera.

She had earlier done a solo exhibition in 2004 in Chandigarh, Mumbai and Delhi titled 'Flowers and Ice – Fragrance of Eternity'.

A Chandigarh-based professional photographer, Pandit's works range from industrial and advertising photo shoots, to still and art. She also teaches amateur photographers and students.

Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit

Over the moon

The moon has always bewitched writers and poets. Right from the 'Chandamama' stories we heard from our grandmothers, to the strong socio-political messages given by the likes of legendary Pakistani poet Habib Jalib through works like 'Aey Chand yahan mat nikla kar', the subject has always caught the fancy of the masses. This time though, the journey is through photographs.

“But moon as a concept for photography was something that struck me while reading an interview of the poet Gulzar, that his writing is often inspired by the NASA website and his grandchild. This has also resulted in him penning ‘Pluto’,” shares Pandit.

“For me, the moon was like a human being that changes its facial expressions on daily basis. From full moon to the new, from a crescent to the gibbous.

“I also experienced the soothing effect it gave while my own childhood memories related to the moon came flooding back. Back in those days when there was no 24 hour television, leave aside the gizmos of the present day, gazing at the moon and the stars was a regular exercise for the children. Kids were just fascinated by the very thought of locating a hare or an old lady in a full moon,” she adds.

Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit

Shooting for the moon

She clicked thousands of frames, often keeping awake through the night to capture the right shot at the right moment. “At times the moon immersed me in deep spirituality, especially when it came to capturing the waning crescent phase between 3.30 am to 4 am, a time seen as most auspicious.

“It was at such hours that I understood why the great Sufi Guru Nanak described it as ‘Amrit vela',” she adds.

The artist says that the works on display do not have any element of photoshop in them, a question that has been posed to her numerous times.

“It is all natural colours and experimentation with shutter speeds and multiple exposures. The project includes some of creative shots experimented with the street light to giver a painter’s effect to my work,” says the artiste.

Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit
Photo: Madhu Pandit
First published: 8 April 2017, 19:51 IST