About Surendra

Although I was always interested in the visual arts, especially cinema, photography came to me relatively late in life. Working at Osho Ko Hsuan School in Devon, I was inspired by the enthusiasm of some of the students for Ansel Adams and their own efforts in the small, school darkroom. When I happily inherited some equipment from my uncle, I decided to take a photography training and eventually taught the subject. My interest is not in recording events. Mostly, I am looking for hidden beauty in the mundane: in the stillness that surrounds us and is often overlooked.

Monochrome delivered the results I preferred and gave options for creative control that were relatively simple and yet highly variable. Gradually I was drawn to abstraction in nature where pattern and texture could dominate the image regardless of what it was or where it came from. Series of pictures emerged around themes: eroded rocks, designs in tree bark, flowing water and the organic forms of fruits, vegetables and leaves. Although individual subjects took a less prominent place, each series clearly had its own essential qualities. Rocks solidly endured the onslaught of climate through the ages. The more maleable bark of trees reflected both continuous growth, decline and weathering. Flowing water was artificially arrested by the camera to be still or adopt mist like qualities. Organic forms were also temporal, growing rapidly from abundance to decay. Time disolves and enriches. It introduces more complexity into the original subjects and their surfaces. It is a reminder that all is flux and all physical forms are finite.

My attention to detail called for a larger negative. Turning to medium format, I chose the square frame and enjoyed composing within it. At the end of 2013, I moved to Japan and decided to relinquish the darkroom but stay with black and white film. I went the route of high-quality scans from negatives and digital printing. Having become half digital, I apreciated the greater scope and ease of editing this provided. The acquisition of a digital camera was, perhaps, inevitable. Beforehand, I had gone for a further increase in detail by adding a 6 x 9 camera to my toolkit. Widening the 6 x 6 square to a rectangle also helped pave the road to full digital. Having rejected this route in the days when digital cameras were not able to match the output of film cameras, I was shaken by the quality of modern digital cameras. Although medium format film will continue to hold a prominent place in my work.

But I was in for another shock. Shooting only RAW images, they came in colour to be converted to black and white. As I experimented with the wide range of options available for this process, I kept the original colour file as well. To my astonishment, for some subjects, I found myself favouring muted colour over black and white. It was hard to believe after such an exclusive preference for monochrome. But there it is, my latest venture and a colour portfolio will be appearing soon.