Breath of light

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A Year Nine student, Nikeeta Bhatia finds photography inspiration in the works of the masters, writes DEVNA LUTHRA

In a time of Instagram filters and ‘Snapchat’ photos that self-delete in 10 seconds, it’s not unusual to wonder if the art of photography has been lost. What is our sudden fascination with documenting our every move? Have we lost the beauty of the artful composition of a photography?

photography.Indian Link

The essence of photography (and much of modern art) comes from the interpretation of the viewer themselves. Rather than asking puzzling over an art form wondering, ‘What’s it meant to mean? It doesn’t even have a title…yeh artist pagal he,’ as an audience, you’re asked to reflect on what the piece means to you, how it makes you feel, how you react to it.

Nikeeta Bhatia’s passion for photography began when she was eight, adopting her interest from her father. The 15-year-old’s most recent photo series is pictured here.

photography.Indian Link

Incorporating a range of techniques to craft different emotions and tones, Nikeeta used a Canon EOS 600D camera to portray the delicate balance of light and dark.

She took these photos both inside and outside the studio, primarily using low-key and high-contrast lighting to create the dramatic elements of the photos.

photography.Indian Link

“My inspiration for these photos came from 20th century American photographer Imogen Cunningham and 17th century Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán,” Nikeeta says.

Both artists capitalise on ‘chiaroscuro’, the effects of shadow and light. Nikeeta carefully studied their works and their art is a clear influence in the composition of each photograph.

“My favourite photo is the one with the girl in the hoodie,” Nikeeta says.

photography.Indian Link

This picture is a modern appropriation of one of Zurbarán’s paintings, titled ‘Saint Francis of Assisi’.

She successfully kept the essence of the original painting, but incorporated a contemporary element to add a personal spin.

photography.Indian Link

This was her first attempt of using professional studio lighting (rather than natural lighting) so Nikeeta says it was a challenging to achieve the right effect she was after. “I’m extremely happy with how it has turned out though,” she says.

The dramatic edge certainly comes through in this series of works. Nikeeta is keen to take her photography hobby further, to develop and refine her skills.