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A Journey Within

Chandigarh-based bureaucrat Dr Sumita Misra's first photo exhibition remains true to her creative sensibilities

To give in to your urge to pull out a camera – be it a professional SLR, a point-and-shoot one or even your mobile phone – on a vacation is absolutely justifiable. It’s the done thing. We look at an amazing view, a verdant landscape or something ‘pretty’ and we instantly want to capture it, forever. And really what better way to seal a memory than take a photograph. 

A Journey Within, Lifeinchd
Photo By: Vikram Joy

While most of us would like ourselves and our family to be in that frame as well – I remember someone looking at my travel images from New Zealand and remarking, ‘They are nice but how do I know it’s your holiday, you are not in any photo!’ – sometimes it is that one beautiful moment that you want to relish for yourself and not just click it because it has to appear on a ‘timeline’ or ‘cover’ photo somewhere. 

A Journey Within, Lifeinchd

As Dr Sumita Misra puts it so aptly, “Photographs are not just a record of where we were, with whom, doing and seeing what. Photographs are key. They are the secret code, the prompt that unlocks seamlessly the treasure trove of memories. Memories that otherwise would be impossible to retrieve in the maze of the mind.”  

A Journey Within, Lifeinchd

The Chandigarh-based bureaucrat has now put out those memories of her journeys around the world in public in the form of her debut photo exhibition titled ‘A Kaleidoscope of Journeys’ at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh. At first the images, attractively framed and presented, will appear as perfect-picture postcard shots that you would come across in a travel magazine/website or a holiday brochure. While that by no means is a bad thing, it walks a tad familiar path. 

A Journey Within, Lifeinchd

But as you complete one round of initial viewing, you find yourself coming back to some of them, many of them, again. You appreciate the composition and the view and how they begin to get your attention. You realise it’s not a random collection (and selection) of travel spots. In fact, the most noticeable thing about the photographs is that they are void of visual clutter and busy-ness. They celebrate the beautiful world and even if they are tourist spots, Misra’s camera zooms in on the quieter moments. 

The images of the snow-capped peaks in Alaska and Uttarakhand, an empty bench near Lake Schwerin in Germany, the long shadows of trees in a London park, boats parked on a waterway in Cambridge are soothing to see. Visually there is a sense of calmness and stillness, similar to one experienced in meditation. To be able to incite such feelings in a viewer speaks very well for an amateur photographer. And Misra is a fine one that. 

A Journey Within, Lifeinchd

For someone who wears many feathers in her creative cap – she’s an acclaimed poetess, founder chairperson of the Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS), festival director for Literati (Chandigarh LitFest) – the addition of a photographer is impressive. 

The exhibition is on view at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10 , Chandigarh till March 5.


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