Sophie Gaur

[song-phrase by Shankar Barua]

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Sophie's one of those folks we at The IDEA have always searced for, and always loved finding. She works with imaging all day in the normal course of her day-to-day commercial works (in a new studio ~ Congrats!), but like with so many others of us today, there's always a little bit of imaging for it's own sake going on somewhere in there too. We first managed to tap into that for the exhibition "Explorations in Digital Imaging", in September 2000, and carried some of her work in a review of the show on IDEA #3, so we're absolutely delighted to have her speak for herself here,.. and also share some more of those images in her closet.

My experiments with the business of digital images is at best just that ~ an experiment. I started out as a furniture designer in Delhi and did a lot of different things, but I'm afraid, very little furniture. I realized somewhere along the line that Graphic Design was something I have a real fascination for ~ especially plain and simple print design. I began (and continue to) very humbly do little cards and things for clients, often as adjunct to products.

When I began to work in 1996 on Photoshop 4.0 it was a package that offered immense possibility vis-a-vis image and form. I started off playing with scanned images and did my first real image, a take off on Madonna and Child, with my husband and daughters' faces transposed over Madonna and baby Jesus. An old basic trick, but also an attempt to put into an image the similar love they share and the intensity of the father-child bond. It was of course met with shrieks of horror and hysteria by friends and family, but to me it was still more than a joke.

Since then I have been trying to do with Photoshop what I lack in actual physical skill and patience ~ creating images that have painting-like feelings that are in essence collages of images layered randomly or intentionally. The image with the hands below has the drawing of the hands over a photograph of cave paintings. A sort of comment on the progress of the ability to draw itself with the instruments of drawing (hands) as the subject. There is no deep meaning, but images tell stories and these are the stories I enjoy telling. Not that one can read the music of Beethoven plastered over his many violins or violas in the next image below, but his mad hair curling into a violin was a little visual gimmick I enjoyed doing. Similarly, the seemingly sacred space as a floating room amidst the sea, with all manner of animals and birds and my picture almost indiscernible at the end of the perspective point is a sort of joke at a self portrait ~ you really are what you're thinking at any given moment in time.

My attempt in the memory series was to actually use pictures from my past (old love letters, and some ~I hate to admit~ audaciously plagarised images), to put into the final frozen images that elusive quality where no single incident or picture takes precedence in memories of my childhood and relationships.

While the folks at The IDEA also wanted me to share some technical details, I must confess that layering in Photoshop is simpler than using a washing machine and I'd be embarrassed to explain how it's done. Basically though, I do play with the specifications of layers quite a lot ~ using the difference mode and the light effects. I also shamelessly use the standard filters that even my four-year old can understand, but it is that utter simplicity of doing what would otherwise be a hideously complex task that I love. And I hope one day I can use it to some worthwhile cause.

Cheers and have fun ~ also with Painter and Illustrator and Freehand.

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~x~

Sophie Gaur
16 North Avenue
IIT Campus
Hauz Khas
New Delhi - 110 016
tel: (91-11) 652 2087, 659 1632