Mahendra Bakle: Capturing the Eastern Sun
With the 2019 Eyewinawards Gold and an award from China Tourism among his plethora of laurels, Mahendra Bakle is an extremely illustrious photographer. Although he covers a varied spectrum of themes and geography, he is particularly inclined towards capturing stills from the everyday lives of people against the rural backdrop of Indo-China and other Southeast Asian regions.
His work is a profusion of scenes capturing the innocence of a primal lifestyle along with the traditional lifestyle. These photos range from instantaneous pictorial shots to premeditated shots which he has composed with nuance and diligence to incorporate the essence of its moment.
In his conversation with TheVibe he illustrated how these two modes comprise two different methodologies and immense patience. For instance, the man with the conical fishnets was captured spontaneously and it turned out glorious.
The other mode essentially involves using the surroundings to create an aura where the radiance emanates from the picture. The monks sitting against the light emanating from the perforated lattice is a frame that has been worked upon by deliberately sweeping the dust off the floor to bring out the sun rays.
“The people, their houses and lifestyles are very simple and integrated with nature… I like those… I like to capture life as it is” Upon Indo China being juxtaposed with more urban western civilizations, he responds by highlighting the primal and traditional character of this region.
Mahendra’s forte remains landscape and environment portrays. He thoroughly enjoys the lush greens, the waters, and interacting with the natives. On multiple occasions, he has coffee or tea in their huts and tries to observe their lives closely. “Sometimes I even fall in the river or something,” says Mahendra light heartedly when he is asked about the work that goes behind the camera.
“I like to play with light, details, and sharpness,” says the traveler photographer.
About the highly detailed and strong image of a traditionally tattoed man, he says with ease, “I just found him relaxing in his region”. Perhaps this approach of capturing people in their habitats doing their traditional activities is what sets Bakle’s work apart.
With his precision in terms of technicality and unadulterated love for representing cultures, religious practices, and lifestyles in their niches, Mahendra Bakle’s collection of pictures from Southeast Asia remains distinct and abundant.
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