Monday, 6 April 2009


Yesterday we caught the final day of the exhibition, Natural Wonders, at the Oxo Gallery: a collection of stunning panoramic photographs by Jaspal Jandu comprising an inspiring journey through some of the world's most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.

Jandu, whom we met in the gallery, credits among his inspirations the legendary American photographer, Ansel Adams, as well as landscape artists such as Turner and Monet. He described his working process of long exposures (the image below took 15 minutes) as a result of which his pictures have an amazing depth of field that allows the eye to see every aspect of a scene, from pebbles or blades of grass in the foreground to the cracks and crevices of distant mountains with an almost supernatural sharpness of focus.

Click on images to enlarge

This highly gifted photographic artist not only captures those all-too transient moments of ravishing beauty as can, by chance, be glimpsed in a particular season or at a specific hour such as day-break or sunset, but - in his stunning compositions of earth, sky and water - embodies the spirit of landscape...

Click on images to enlarge

As can be seen from the artist's statement, above, he feels an obligation to record these wonders and if you ask him why he travels to often wildly inaccessible places in order to take a photograph, he will paraphrase George Mallory's famous answer on being asked why he wanted to climb Everest ("Because it's there!") and say: "Because it may not always be there."

Eschewing, by and large, the jumble and clamour of even beautiful cities (despite having a father who was an architect!) Jandu has developed an eye for recognising the beauty or majesty of nature - vague and mysterious or bold and dynamic, soft and yielding or harsh and resilient - and the knowledge that the rest of us happy snappers with our thousands of grabbed-but-never-looked-at-again digital pix forget (or have never acquired): that one image - the perfect image - can say it all.

Of his own signature image of Imperial Point in the Grand Canyon (above) he writes:

The viewpoint itself is the highest point on either rim of the Canyon and even during the harsh midday light commands majestic views of the Painted Desert to the east, Mount Hayden to the southeast and Saddle Mountain to the northeast.

Arising early, I had already noticed a thin ‘slit’ in the clouds which would allow the sun to shine through if the timing was right. However, the pre-dawn darkness did not allow me to fully appreciate the level of haze in the Canyon itself and as the sun eventually burst through, crepuscular rays (also known as ‘God rays’) began to flood the scene.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment of total focus and unbridled awe. I knew instantly that it would make a timeless image.

That is true of all the images in his 'Natural Wonders' exhibition and in the book of the same title - which is an armchair-passport to travel in company with a brilliantly gifted guide.

You can read more about Jandu's work on his blog and you can take a further journey through his world in this YouTube film...

"The landscapes of our world," says Jandu, "are truly wondrous places, inspiring each generation by their subtle forms and infinite moods. My aim is to bring that inspiration and wonder to a wider audience."

Look out for a further exhibition of his photographs at the Oxo Gallery in December and visit his website to view his work and for details of limited edition prints and his exquisitely produced book, Natural Wonders: A Panoramic Vision.

Images (top to bottom): Sacred Falls, England; 'Zen', Antelope Canyon, USA; 'First light', Mount Fuji, Japan; Matterhorn Reflection, Switzerland; Dunstanburg Castle, England; 'China Dawn', Yangshuo, China; 'Divine Light', Alaska, USA; Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand; 'Creation', Imperial Point, Grand Canyon, USA. Below: the photographer at work.

All images: © 2006-2009 Jaspal Jandu Photography.


SharonM said...

I should imagine it must have been difficult to leave the gallery - his images are quite breathtaking. And all this from an economist!

Bitter Animator said...

Wow. Absolutely incredible. I adore that one under the quote box. They are just amazing. Hard to believe he lives on the same plant I do.

Brian Sibley said...

LISAH - Yes, Jaspal Jandu majored in economics and, apprently, still takes an interest in the subject on the basis that as Leonardo Da Vinci noted one should aim to "study the science of art and the art of science".

BITTER ANIMATOR - Maybe his work is about reminding us that we do all live on this extraordinary planet even if, most of the time, our vision if it is dull or even squalid.

David Weeks said...

The other key things he said when giving advice to budding photographers were; get up early to catch the morning light and visit art galleries to study colour and composition.
He particularly likes the simplicity of Japanese art, hence the very beautiful, but almost minimalist, photo of Mt.Fuji

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks, David, I'd forgotten those points.

It was a rather extraordinary situation: not just meeting the photographer, by pure fluke, but having him devote so much time to talk to us and others. Normally at such events, you're lucky to get more than a few words out of the artist/author - especially once they've signed and sold you their book.

Jaspal Jandu really wanted to share his passion with those who were there and his excitement about what he does (and does so very well) was very infectious.