Category Archives: Photography

Prabuddha Dasgupta: A Tribute

Prabuddha Dasgupta (21 September 1956 – 12 August 2012) was a noted fashion photographer from India. Known for his iconic black and white imagery, he had an extended career, primarily as a fashion photographer, spanning more than 3 decades. Prabuddha Dasgupta was self-taught and grew up in the cultural chaos of post-colonial India. The biggest contribution attributed to the legend is of elevating fashion photography in India to the level of an artform.

In 1996, Prabuddha Dasgupta broke a taboo by publishing ‘Women’ (Viking Books), a controversial collection of portraits and nudes of urban Indian women. With that gesture, he reinstated the nude to its rightful place in the Indian cultural discourse; after 200 years of Victorian morality imposed by the British colonialists had almost erased sexuality from artistic expression… in the very home of the Kamasutra.

In the decade that followed, Dasgupta pursued a variety of photographic projects, while unapologetically straddling the two worlds of commissioned and artistic work, bringing to both, a bold, individualistic sensibility that very quickly placed him in the ranks of major photographic talent in the country.

Dasgupta’s work has been exhibited internationally, both in solo and group shows, and published in Indian, French, English, Italian and American magazines. His second book ‘Ladakh’ (Viking Books), a personal exploration of India’s frontier wilderness was published in 2000 and his work is included in many books publications including ‘Nudi’ (Motta Editore, Milan) and ‘India Now – New Photographic Visions’ (Textuel, Paris). He was also the recipient of many grants and awards, including the Yves Saint Laurent grant for photography in1991, and his work is in the collections of many individuals and institutions, like the Museo Ken Damy, Brescia, Italy, and Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy. In 2009 Dasgupta’s third book “Edge of Faith” was published by Seagull Books.

VSUAL pays a tribute to the legend with a few images from his brilliant collection.
All images © Prabuddha Dasgupta and respective publications.

You can offer your tribute in comments below.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre tall measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

In order to study the spatial and material qualities of wireless networks, the Immaterials team built a WiFi measuring rod that visualises WiFi signal strength as bars of lights. When moved through space the rod displays changes in the WiFi signal. Long-exposure photographs of the moving rod reveal cross sections of a network’s signal strength.

The WiFi measuring rod is a 4-meter tall probe containing 80 lights that respond to the Received Signal Strength (RSSI) of a particular WiFi network. When they walked through architectural, urban spaces with this probe, while taking long-exposure photographs, they could visualise the cross-sections, or strata, of WiFi signal strength, situated within photographic urban scenes. The cross-sections are an abstraction of WiFi signal strength, a line graph of RSSI across physical space. Although it can be used to determine actual signal strength at a given point, it is much more interesting as a way of seeing the overall pattern, the relative peaks and the troughs situated in the surrounding physical space.

The measuring rod is inspired by the poles land surveyors use to map and describe the physical landscape. Similarly, this equipment allowed the team to reveal and represent topographies of wireless networks. The measuring rod uses a typical mobile WiFi antenna to measure reception, and draw out 4 metre tall graphs of light.

After a week of walking through urban spaces holding and photographing this instrument, they got a much better sense of the qualities of WiFi in urban spaces, its random crackles, bright and dim spots, its reaction to the massing of buildings, and its broad reach through open areas. The resulting images show some of these qualities, and establishes light painting as a brilliant medium for situating visualisations and data into physical world locations and situations.

The light paintings show how WiFi networks are highly local, informal and fragmented, but also illustrate how these networks make up a highly evolved, yet largely inaccessible urban infrastructure that is mainly created by its users. The visualisations demonstrate how WiFi is a part of the urban landscape, and how networks are both shaped by the environment and influence how urban spaces can be used.

‘Immaterials: Light painting WiFi’ points towards potentials for materializing and contextualizing invisible technologies through light painting and visualisations. Hopefully, the film situates the networked city within the everyday environments in which it take place. The light paintings illustrate how the networked city can be both ubiquitous, messy, informal and shows how the invisible landscape of networks is another layer of the dense and complex urban contexts we are already aware of.

Acknowledgments

‘Immaterials: light painting WiFi’ is created by Timo ArnallJørn Knutsenand Einar Sneve Martinussen. The film joins together TouchYOUrban and Einar’s PhD project on design, technology and city life. Einar is also writes about this work in a chapter for a forthcoming book titled ‘Design Innovation for the Built Environment – Research by Design and the Renovation of Practice’ edited my Michael U. Michael U. Hensel.

Not everyone knows that Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands stretching 3,500km from the north to the south, about 500 of which are wonderful tropical or subtropical areas that offer a unique holiday experience. A lot of them are uninhabited and have very few man-made structures on them. Many Japanese prefer to spend their holidays in Hawaii because of the resort facilities and duty-free shopping. This is the very reason there are very few people who even know they exist! VSUAL got in touch with the photographer couple Ippei & Janine Naoi to discover these mysterious islands.

The photographer duo Janine Vleugel Naoi and her husband Ippei Naoi enjoy traveling to and photographing the beautiful islands of Japan. The islands with the most beautiful beaches in the area are concentrated in Okinawa, southern Japan and in the South China Sea. The Kerama Islands are the most frequented by the Europeans, including Tokashiki Island and Zamami Island, which are easily accessible from the main island of Okinawa by ferry. The Iriomote island of the Yaeyama island chain is 90% covered with beautiful jungles surrounded by coral reefs. The Yaeyama islands are frequented mainly by Japanese although the number of foreign visitors has increased in recent years. Miyako island, with its beautiful coral reef and the beach Yonaha Maehama, according to many, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the East.

The Naois tell us that one can enjoy snorkeling in the reefs that are close to shore. These reefs are inhabited by numerous animal and plant species. The Ishigaki island according to the Japanese has the most beautiful seascape of the archipelago known as the Kabira Bay. The large islands are accessible from Tokyo by plane — costing around 100 euros with Japan Airpass fares, and then you can take a ferry to the smaller islands, costing from 2 to 40 euros, depending on distance.

In this issue VSUAL explores the beautiful Okinawa Island that has insanely beautiful seascapes, azure skies and sparkling white sand. Okinawa consists of 160 islands and it’s known as one of the world’s best diving destinations, having a number of coral species and marine lives as large as those in the Great Barrier Reef. Over 400 types of corals, 5 types of sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks, dugons and all kinds of tropical fish species all live around Okinawa.

Ippei Naoi was born in Tokyo, Japan. Having parents as jewelry designers, Ippei grew-up surrounded with jewelry and design. After graduating from Sophia University, he lived in Amsterdam for 6 years where he worked as a web designer. In 2006, he returned to Tokyo with Janine, where he became active in jewelry design. After working for international branding agency, Landor Associates, Ippei launched Amamika with Janine. Ippei is also involved in photography, and is published internationally, including the National Geographic.

Janine Vleugel Naoi was born in Melbourne, Australia. She graduated from Melbourne’s Swinburne National School of Design, and after working in a design agency in Melbourne, she moved to Amsterdam where she spent 3 years as a graphic designer in international advertising agency, TBWA. In 2006, together with her partner Ippei, Janine moved her base to Tokyo. She also became active in jewelry design, drawing inspiration from her graphic design background. Janine is still active in graphic design, and also does freelance projects alongside jewelry design.

Interviewer:
Abhay Salve
Special Correspondent

Feature Editor:
Utpal Pande
Editor-in-cheif