Award-winning monochrome photographic artist Jayanta Roy talks about his love for black and white and creating awareness on climate change.
Born in the green plains and vintage streets of the old Calcutta, Jayanta Roy always had an eye for art. Recollecting the days before economic liberalisation in 1991, he says, “Our life was so simple without multiple choices. I had an old film camera and loved the black and white images that I took.”
Living close to the mountains and forests of Darjeeling, Roy had much experience in shooting mountain life. “Kolkata is a one night ride away from the Himalayas and people there are very helpful.”
But why monochrome? The artist responds, “I can relate to the classic and timeless feel of monochrome. I just don’t shoot randomly and then convert it to monochrome. I visualise and compose every image in black-and-white, which is very difficult in the initial stages of photography and needs years of practice.”
Talking about his popular work, ‘The Himalayan Odyssey’ series, Roy shares, “I love capturing mountains and landscapes. I started shooting Himalayan landscapes in 1999 but this particular series started developing in 2011. I wanted to make a book out of this series and I’m still working on it.”
He wants to create awareness and convey a message through his photographs. He says, “Our localities are turning into wastelands. I feel it’s our responsibility to spread awareness about the danger of climate change and pollution. In our society, people with real power who can make positive change and preserve nature are busy fighting in the name of religion, food, language etc. My photography is a small effort to show my love for nature.”
The works of Sebastiao Salgado, Michael Kenna, Prabuddha Dasgupta and Dayanita Singh have impacted his life, and he reminisces about an adventurous shoot. “It was 3 am in a village called Lungthung in Sikkim. It was around 12,000 ft high and inhabited by 10 people. The wind from Kanchenjunga was painfully cold and the night was pitch-black and I forgot to carry my flashlight. It was very difficult to find a proper spot in the dark, like a tree, to keep the tripod still in the wind. During the entire time, I felt that someone was watching me in the dark. I was afraid of being attacked by wild animals, but nothing went wrong.”