Pallon Daruwala’s career over the last twenty-two years has covered the entire gamut of subjects and objects. A student of the reputed Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara (USA), Pallon has worked in India since 1986.
His work has been featured in international publications such as Travel & Leisure (New York), Wallpaper, DestinAsian (Indonesia), Business Traveler (Hong Kong) and Time, and in local publications such as the Taj Magazine, Jet Wings, and most architecture & design related magazines.
His images have also been published in books including The Guide to Home Decorating Indian Style (Mapin), NIGHT FEVER – Interior Design for Bars & Clubs (Frame Birkhauser), BON APPETIT – Restaurant Guide (Frame Birkhauser), Indian Design (Daab) and ONE OFF – Independent Retail Design (Laurence King).
Pallon is the first Indian member of the IAAP (International Association of Architectural Photographers). He has a special relationship with Epson, consulting with them to push the envelope of what is possible with special papers and printing techniques.
After living in Mumbai for five years and working with some of the finest creative minds in advertising, graphic design and architecture, Pallon relocated to Bangalore where he now lives.
Vertical Horizon is a series of 36 images in black & white and is a signed limited-edition series. They are in an edition of 5, and have been printed on acid-free, archival quality, textured fine art paper using UltraChrome K3 pigmented inks.
It was with intrigue and delight that I viewed this latest body of work by Pallon Daruwala, their linear architectonic quality reminding me of the wonderful visionary drawings of Italian architect, designer and painter Massimo Scolari and the powerful hand rendered drawings of Japanese Architect Shin Takamatsu.
Pallon has taken a giant leap in this work boldly crossing over the world of commercial photography and into art, creating a compelling series of compositions that significantly alter the viewers perception of space, scale and order.
Aptly named “Vertical Horizon”, Pallon turns the horizon as we know it clockwise and then digitally mirrors the same, creating a marvelous visionary world of his own; his world of futuristic buildings, mysterious creatures, and symbolic forms.
The original subject matter in Pallon’s images is vast, and he finds inspiration (as he always has) in architectural construction sites, in fields, temples, urban panoramic cityscapes, highways and playgrounds. The rendition of his work is however very precise, always emphasizing a central vertical spine that ties these images with a unifying spirit.
The black and white compositions have a wonderful spatial quality; the manipulation of light and shadow, along with sharp contrasts in some and the deliberate grainy quality in others give them an ethereal and sublime feel.
Pallon constantly plays with the idea of perception, relativity and scale. Sweeping Panoramic views are thus manipulated into looking like abstractions up close, and details are zoomed out to form vast landscapes.
The viewer is deliberately distorted with the alterations in scale but is at once eased with the centrality and balance in each of the frames. Multiple interpretations emerge as the vertical horizons in each work merge seamlessly into one another.
Pallon has always used dramatic angles and exaggerated perspective in his architectural and spatial photography, and he uses his vast experience in this field as well as in the world of digital photography to produce beautiful compositions that reference the scientific, spiritual and natural worlds.
A MILL BY THE SEA
I first met Pallon Daruwala in 2002, at a showing of his work in Bangalore. I remember the work, black and white images of interiors and still-lives, printed with remarkable sensitivity, in the most fragile, delicate tones… on a paper that had a sensual, tactile, handmade quality… and I was struck with amazement that I had accidentally just walked into the work of a master craftsman, a fine printer of black and white - the most rare and elusive of all creatures in the universe of photography that I inhabited. I was at that time in the process of moving to Bangalore and deeply saddened that the printer I had worked with for the past 8 years was going to remain behind in Delhi. So confronting these images on that Bangalore afternoon was a near revelation. I immediately sought out the maker to find out more about these beautiful prints and that’s when I met Pallon and he told me that they were digital prints, done on an inkjet machine sitting on his desktop.
My first response of course was disbelief. Where I came from ‘digital’ was a dirty word… part of a new age, instant gratification photo culture, which was pure anathema to someone who had honed his craft in the wet darkroom, taking days, sometimes weeks to perfect a single print. But whatever my training or background, there was no getting away from the wholesome yet fragile beauty of what was spread out before me… and that afternoon I believe was a turning point for the way I was going to think of a photographic image… and I have Pallon to thank for that.
Over the years as I got more and more involved with the digital universe, (much to the disappointment of many peers and fellow purists who considered my move to be a betrayal of all things pure in photography) Pallon remained a friend and helped me to hone my new craft. And I followed his work with great interest and enthusiasm, especially in the territory of architectural photography in which he excels. Using the dynamic play of light and darkness to create landscapes of form, Pallon’s work though always informed by a strong graphic and formal quality, is more about the spirit of the space than the space itself.
His new exhibition, “A Mill by the Sea” is testimony to that.
Mukesh Mills has a curious history since its devastation in a fire years ago, that makes it a very special place, especially for a photographer with leanings towards spaces and their interpretation. Normally a space is inhabited… Mukesh Mills has no inhabitants…since the fire, it has lain unused for the purpose that it was created. Sometime in the early nineties, its rotting, ravaged walls and surreal, post apocalyptic atmosphere, caught the attention of certain image makers, primarily from Bollywood, and the fashion industry, who discovered that they could use the space to make it whatever they wanted… a kind of fantastic wasteland waiting to be transformed into Disneyland. A dab of paint here and there, some fake graffiti and it became the background for a music video. A large open space facing the sea with the mill ramparts breaking the horizon, became the setting for a fashion shoot. With a few fake facades and a crane or two it became the setting for a scene of war devastation… or a horror movie…and so on. In other words Mukesh Mills became a space without its own character… its personality at any time defined by whoever was occupying it and the reason for the occupation became the face of the space, albeit temporarily.
It is this ephemeral nature of the space that is the subject of Pallon’s work. Dabs of fresh paint occupy vast areas of desolate devastation… traces of its intrinsic character conflict with its newly assigned ones, disappearing soon to give way to new ones… creating a new vocabulary of occupation, a sort of metaphor for the times we live in… a lover’s graffiti on the walls of a historical edifice…
With his unerring eye for telling detail, and his delectable sense of colour, Pallon gives us a glimpse into the life of an old mill by the sea… after it ceased to be a mill.