Nishant Shukla b.1982 Liverpool, England. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Photography in 2008 and received the “Vice Chancellors” Award from The University of West London to pursue an MA in Photography. In 2009, he was selected to exhibit his work at The Photographers’ Gallery (London) for FreshFaced+WildEyed, focusing on emerging talent in the UK. In 2010 he moved to India to pursue work as photographer for magazine & commercial assignments. He has been commissioned and published by New York Magazine, The Financial Times, Fabrica, The Telegraph, Monocle and The British Journal of Photography, amongst others. Nishant is a co-founder of the photography oriented collective BIND and is currently based in New Delhi.
Project Title: Seeking Moksha
In 2011, I walked to the source of the Ganges, the Gomukh Glacier in the Himalayasto collect water for my grandfather, a Hindu priest, who was then on his deathbed. With hope that the water would be a means through which he could forge a resounding connection with the landscape, one that he was never able to visit – I realized upon my return that he had lost his memory and could not even recognize his grandson.
In subsequent journeys over five years, I fantasized about spending mylife as a hermit and even ruminated with the idea of finding a cave to live in. Whilst collecting objects and gathering experiences, archived in the form of photographs, flora, rocks and salvaged notes, I offered these fragments to those close to me, in an attempt to carry them, in spirit, to the source of the object’s origin. Hence, these veritable talismans – for me – withhold the energy of the landscape they germinate from and moreover, serve as a portal to that place.
This photo series and now, publication has evolved as a consequence of these personal journeysand reflects my encounters with hermits, pilgrims and spiritual seekers, all of whom strive for meaning in their lives through a deeper understanding of the nature that surrounds us and resides within us all.
Lesley Martin, Creative Director, Aperture Foundation:
‘…I appreciate the inclusion of the simple pressed floral and mineral elements, which underscores the quest for essential things…’
‘…The images vary nicely and are well sequenced, paced between the spectacular, awe-inspiring natural settings and the crude trappings of everyday life, creating a creative tension that reflects the inherent cognitive dissonance of contemporary life/society and a respect for the gravitas of centuries-old spiritual quests —the worldly and the unworldly…’
Naveen Kishore, Publisher, Seagull Books:
‘The pages act as a snow covered landscape. Again enhancing even exaggerating the stillness of each image. Again letting these images breathe. Against the white. Uncluttered, the design.’
‘And yes. Everything is a rehearsal. A preparation. For that final act. And yet there is acceptance. That the unattainable may remain out of reach.’
Lesley A. Martin
Creative Director, Aperture Foundation
Publisher, Seagull Books