Written by Geetha GM
T.N. Satyan was one of India’s earliest photojournalists (1923-2009). Born in Mysore, Satyan took his first photograph in high school and went on to document key moments of Indian history for over 60 years.
His works were published in Life, Time magazine and many more Indian and global publications. In addition to being a staff photographer with Deccan Herald and Illustrated Weekly, his memoir, Alive and Clicking (2005) was published by Penguin Random House, India. He passed away at the age of 85 at his birth place Mysore leaving behind a rich legacy.
T.N. Satyan was a national asset of India. He was a traditional photojournalist with very strong creative streaks built into his art but never shied away from making new strides by experimenting with his work which spanned across subjects and locations. This is very evident at the rare display of his work at the exhibition at MAP.
He mostly took photos about common people’s lifestyle and their daily struggles in the society. He also chronicled the lives of politicians, movie actors, female police officers, animals and many more. Among animals one that stands out is, the one in which a monkey is hitching a ride on a car. He captured many photos with his cultural vision. Hailing from the cultural capital of Karnataka, his eventful childhood as one among nineteen children to his parents left a long lasting impression on his work.
We can see his vast hunger he had about photography in his photos. Some of them range from photographing a doctor doing a surgery, a female monk near gigantic Bahubali in Shravanabelagola, baptism of a baby in a church, women with their children in a tubectomy camp in Tamil Nadu. And the most moving photograph that I noticed in this exhibition is the one that depicts friendship between a lame and an abled legged boy.
This exhibition will help photographers, photojournalists and photography lovers. We are proud of T.N. Satyan.
The exhibition to mark the occasion of ace photographer T.N. Satyan’s birth centenary is on till November 20, 2023 at Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Kasturba Road, Bengaluru.