Aladin: A slightly atypical view of things


Read how Garbha became Aladin and photography his passion and watch the slideshow of his stunning photographs

I’ve known Aladin (aka Garbha) for years; not only from Pune 1 Vrindavan days when he was a rickshaw driver, but also from early Bali days when we worked together (with Anatto, Jayapal, and Narayanadeva) producing  garments. As he also loved to take photographs, one of his first assignments was a catalogue for children’s fashion that we were producing and all of us were busy keeping a pair of very young twins and two other tots focused on the job to be done! He also took on an assignment on the island of Sulawesi (Indonesia) video-filming the building of a Pinisi boat, the traditional sailboat of the region, the design of which dates back to the 16th century when the Goa kingdom was at the height of power. As he showed his daily footage to the locals of that remote fishing village, they began calling him Aladin (as in the lamp) and the name stuck.

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His love for photography was kindled as a ten year-old by his father who was an architect and used to show him how to draw and paint. “I still remember how he gave me hints how to draw in perspective, roads that narrowed down in the distance, and trees becoming smaller and smaller. My father wanted to become a painter but after the war he was forced to take up a ‘proper’ job, so he took photographs to substitute his love for painting. He would make detailed shots which were bewildering to others because they weren’t sure what it showed, such as trout in a running creek that had to be discovered in the photo. Whenever we watched slides after holidays, we had an exciting time trying to ascertain what he had seen. This became the basis of my always slightly atypical view of things. The artistic career my father wasn’t able to live became my mission, effort, karma.”

He says that one of the most important things he learned when he studied at the New York Institute for Photography was that pictures need to touch the viewer. Hence he says, “My pictures say more than 1001 words.” You can see from this slide show just how much he has to say.

AladinAladin is a very creative photographer (two successful exhibitions last year), designer, video producer and multimedia wizard par excellence. Part of the year he lives on the island of Sylt and has recently moved from the Cologne area to a village in Wendland, a sparsely populated area in Lower Saxony close to the border of former East Germany. –


Bhagawati is a communicator, writer and author with a penchant for gardening and India.

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