Photo Feature: Pablo Bartholomew

Pablo Bartholomew (born 1955) is an award-winning Indian photojournalist and an independent photographer based in New Delhi, India. He learned photography from his father, the art critic and ace photographer Richard Bartholomew (1926-1985).

Self-trained in photography and inspired by the work of his father, his work has “captured the essence of violence, injustice and perilous events. “

“Over the years, he incisively covered the catastrophic Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the funeral of Indira Gandhi and aftermath of her assassination—the Hindu-Sikh riots, the rise of the Khalistani movement, the political career of Rajiv Gandhi, the funeral of Mother Teresa, the cyclones in Bangladesh, the Nellie conflict in Assam, and the demolition of the Babri Masjid, which almost got him killed, among many other news stories.“

Upto 2000, Bartholomew was represented by the French-American news photo agency, Gamma Liaison. His photographs were published in New York TimesNewsweekTimeBusiness WeekNational GeographicGEODer SpiegelFigaroParis MatchThe TelegraphThe Sunday Times MagazineThe Guardian, and Observer Magazine, among others.

In 2013, Pablo Bartholomew was awarded the highly prestigious Padma Shri by the Indian government.

Note: Bartholomew shot on the film format at a time when digital hadn’t even taken root. That’s what makes his work all the more extraordinary. In the film format you can’t see the image as you shoot until you develop the negative and print the images in which case sometimes you have to go back and take the photograph again. But that scene will not present itself to you again. In digital, the images are produced to look at instantaneously, thereby, as die-hard film buffs have said, digital is ruining photography. On the flip side, major camera manufacturers and chemical companies have stopped making film cameras, accessories and chemicals to process film and print.

Bartholomew’s work spans decades. Candid photography is a lot harder to do. And requires a very committed photographer to achieve that perfect image. The expression of reality is hard to miss. Incisive photography in a film format is hard to achieve. This is not just about a portfolio of good photographs, this is about sheer ability.