Remembering Prabuddha Dasgupta

Josheen Oberoi on the artist and photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta

New York: Prabuddha Dasgupta passed away on August 12, 2012 of natural causes. He was in his late 50s. A beloved photographer in India, he was internationally renowned for his commissioned fashion photography, but had, in fact, straddled the worlds of fashion and fine art photography for decades, one of the few to have done so with his level of acclaim.

Prabuddha Dasgupta
Francis and Bobby D’Souza in their Bedroom, Parra, Goa, 2006
Archival digital print on paper, 18.5 x 27 inches
Image courtesy Saffronart

Prabuddha Dasgupta was a self-taught photographer and first hit Indian national consciousness with the publication of his book Women in 1996, featuring portraits and nudes of Indian women. This publication came decades after he was already well established and revered as a photographer in the fashion and advertising industries. More recently, he published Edge of Faith (2009), comprising seventy nine intimate portraits of the Catholic community in Goa.

I had the pleasure of working with Prabuddha at his first personal showing in New York in 2007, for his body of work Longing. This series was also written about in the Paris Review. The show was a narrative of memories and experiences, with the artist allowing us a glimpse of intimate fragments of his life and experiences. These images, like most of his recognized work, were monochromatic; his mastery over the nuances of black and white being unparalleled.

Prabuddha Dasgupta
Untitled, 2005
Print on paper, 14.0 x 20.5 inches
Image courtesy Saffronart

What I took away most from my experience working with him, beyond his obvious artistic genius, was his tremendous humility. He had a degree of graciousness that is rare to encounter, in both his professional and personal interactions, and he will be sorely missed.

You can read more about him in the personal recollections of his colleague Pablo Bartholomew here. A couple of the many obituaries published over the last few days can also be read here and here.

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