Sanjog and I had worked together in many projects. This is what he wrote about me for my newly updated website, www.gireeshgv.in
Over two decades ago when we were young, sitting in Gireesh’s apartment near Gol Market in Delhi, I made a promise to him. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I would seek the services of him, the ace photographer. Bearing witness were Sasi and Manoj Nair, his and mine closest friends and colleagues in Outlook. The magazine then bore imprint of the finest that Indian print journalism would offer, in design, visuals and content. The proverbial young energy in flow, with its editorial strengths emanating from the magisterial Vinod Mehta.
Gireesh is that fine light who shines through his camera. I would look forward to his credits and marvel at the controls he exhibited through his eyes over the shutter and the moment. For all the publications he has worked for. In this time I always look forward to his byline, well aware that both his individual snaps or a photo feature or within pages of a book, will leave me marvelling at his consistent, evolved feel for his art and craft, rigour and dedication.
Photo journalism often calls for a split, nano-second decision making of the subliminal moment where magic is present and may be recorded. Once the moment is gone the magic is lost. Forever. One thing that distinguishes Gireesh from his immediate tribe is the fact that he is a fine art student. His lensing and expressions are invariably sifted through an instinctive understanding of the frame and the composition within it. That is supremely aware of movement, colours, transience and then life itself. I was an admirer then and continue to be so now.
Having left the security of a fixed salary in 2000, I had started working as Karmic Design, a small firm with a proud, big heart. Initially the book assignments we worked on relied on visuals from the client themselves. In 2009-10 came the first opportunity where I could invite Gireesh to work on a monograph on which he was the principal photographer. Awakenings in BodhGaya was the culmination of our own pilgrimage to the site of Buddha’s enlightenment. Through each of the photograph that Gireesh carefully edited were borne elements that allowed us to forge a visual monograph rich and delicate, that elucidate all that is magnificent about BodhGaya.
Since then we have worked on a number of assignments together. On catalogs and books and theatre productions. In particular have come two books one on the heel of the other. First a book on Jajpur, the ancient capital of Odisha, and the second titled Beyond Barriers, a monograph that documents the indefatigable, splendid work of mobilisers, striving tirelessly for polio’s complete eradication in Western UP and in India at large. Both to us are marvelous well realised assignments that involve significant travel and rigour. In all our enterprise, me and Gireesh have worked well as a team which allow me to seek his company and natural born excellence. Always.
Gireesh likes to work alone on an assignment. As the book editor I have been relaxed enough for him to explore and capture moments solitary. For one because he would like to be out even before the crack of dawn. And then he works on till noon when the sun is up and the light become harsh and the shadows minimal. A brief rest later he is on his feet again to seek the outdoor and many a time he surprises me as he goes on to photograph till midnight. In the process he can climb several hills, walk long kilometers in deep cold and harsh heat, ill or not. Committed to the pressing deadlines and supreme performance. To top it all with heavy gear of a couple of cameras, multiple lenses, tripods and lights whenever required, which he insists on carrying himself. What he comes back is with great art, without fail.
Beyond the books on which we have worked together are the photographs he shoots for himself and keeps close to his chest or within his multiple hard drives. I am convinced I am yet to see some of his most profound works. However, in between we have worked on a maquette for a book of his titled Faith. For Gireesh is a traveller par excellence. Over time through his journey he has visited mosques, temples, gurudwaras, churches et al. He has captured moments of ecstasy, of solitude, of the divine and our dialog with creation and its magical overtures
From across India. Of faith that brings people together. That bridges divides and overcomes discrimination with ease, sophistication and finesse. Moments that are lit by grace, compassion and supreme trust in the often incomprehensible ways of the living reality. Often paradoxical and still, illuminated by beauty, subliminal. I personally would love to live for the day when this book of Gireesh, Faith, gets realised. Both as an exhibition and as a momentous coffee table book. I am convinced that the art project would be realised, apposite for the fractured, yet vital time we live in, soon. By Sanjog Sharan, Karmic Design.
with Sanjog Sharan in Ratnagiri,