Bhupendra Karia, we called him BK. He worked closely with Cornell Capa prior to ICP’s opening in 1974 and then for three years as his collaborator, establishing the guidelines that would become the International Center of Photography on 94th Street. BK was knowledgable and talented in many fields: as a linguist, calligrapher, graphic artist and as a photographer. It was as a student in Japan where he studied history and aesthetics that he received his photographic education.
SepiaEYE is presenting an exhibit of his photographs taken in India from 1968 to 1974. His images show his keen interest in traditional crafts and village culture. He had traveled extensively, for weeks and sometimes months at a time, and by his own accounting over 80,000 miles across India’s rural landscape. He spoke of “listening to India with one’s eyes.”
One sees this densely populated country in some cases of extreme poverty as well as overwhelming beauty through his profoundly sensitive eye. From these exquisite 38 images you see a world you could not imagine. Of course, BK took more than this small number of photographs, close to a quarter million in total from which He chose 74 images that he called “the meager harvest of my first 20 years in photography.”
This is a show worth seeing with the hope of more to come. My strong regret is that he did not have the opportunity to build on and grow from this body of work; Bhupendra passed away in 1994 before again taking up the camera in serious pursuit.