INDIA - Harry Gruyaert

EXB Workshop -

Texts by Jean-Claude Carrière. Bound. 29 x 23,5 cm. 208 pages. 135 color photographs.


For more than thirty years Harry Gruyaert has travelled the Indian peninsula. For the first time, this book brings together approximately 150 photographs, most of them previously unpublished, which tell the story of an India that is both timeless and modern. These images testify to the photographer's singularity: his interest in narrative, public space and unexpected scenes. Gruyaert says he needs to travel to feel the world and express it in images. From Gujarat to Kerala, he has captured a certain quintessence of this country of many legends. Streets teeming with activity in New Delhi or Calcutta, modest villages in Tamil Nadu or Rajasthan, ghats in the great religious cities of Benares or Varanasi... Women in saffron and purple saris are threshing grain, dyers are busy in steaming vats, a nomadic shepherd's camp is organized in the twilight...

The air is saturated with color, light, noise and sometimes silence. The color must be primordial," says Gruyaert, "it restores an emotional perception, gives a graphic vision of the world. The atmospheres with subtle chromatic variations draw up a contrasted picture and backwards from any exoticism.

Far from stereotypes, these images show the plurality of India over the years and the political events of the country. "Making a photo is both seeking contact and refusing it, being at the same time the most there and the least there," says the photographer. It's about bringing out the wonder, about capturing what characterizes the place. The search for density in the frame makes photography a physical experience. An experience that is particularly embodied here, in this multi-sensory journey in India.

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Harry Gruyaert

Born in Belgium in 1941, Harry Gruyaert studied photography and film. He made a few films as a director of photography for Flemish television before turning to color photography in his adopted Paris in the early 1960s and then traveling from the late 1970s to the present day to bring us back from his various travels some incredible shots (Morocco, Egypt, United States, India...).

In 1982, he joined Magnum Photos. He likes to work in different environments, with contrasting lights and colors. He lives in Paris and is represented by Gallery 51 in Antwerp.