HARDCOVER 80 PAGES 32 BLACK & WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS TEXT BY NAVEEN KISHORE 8.25 × 10.5 IN (210 × 266 MM)
Saibal Das began his career as a photojournalist for The Telegraph in 1986, going on to work as staff photographer for Outlook and India Today and photographing the ULFA insurgency, the Taliban’s invasion of Afghanistan, cultural unrest in North-East India and other socio-political and cultural upheavals in Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. In these poignant black and white photographs however, Das explores the world of religious faith and spiritual belief with the vision of a poet, rather than the eye of a photojournalist.
Taking its title – Before the Birth of Time – from Naveen Kishore’s text which is appropriately a poetic response to these photographs, the series moves beyond mere documentation; presenting pilgrimage sites, Sadhus, Nagas, devotees, monks, all with a contemplative air that resonates with a rare empathy and reflects Das’ meditative sensibility. Attempting to unpack spiritual and religious realities and landscapes, highlighting unnoticed characteristics and revealing shrouded details, these images are intended to be an exploration and observation on the nature of life, death, and the journey to the inner ‘Self’.
Evoking an aesthetic of sublimity and reminiscent of the subconscious rather than the conscious, these photographs serve as a visual critique on questions of memory, reality, accuracy and truth.