Jeet Malhotra (b. 1929)
A modernist architect and photographer, Jeet Malhotra is notably remembered for not only closely working with Le Corbusier, during his design of Chandigarh, but also for closely documenting the process of the building city. He also worked closely alongside architect Pierre Jeanneret, and Corbusier’s cousin, on the same project.
There is little scholarship on Malhotra, the photographer, and notable amongst them is Dwelling in Abstraction Post-Partition Segues into Post-War Art by Atreyee Gupta, which focuses on Malhotra’s photography as a unique form of modernist architectural photography. Malhotra joined Corbusier on the Chandigarh project, as a junior architect, after his graduation from the Delhi Polytechnic. Initially, it was photographer Lucien Herve who had been tasked with documenting the project. While Herve’s images were featured heavily in the media, after a short stay, Herve left, leaving the task of documenting the rest of the project to Malhotra.
As Gupta notes, there are distinct stylistic tendencies in Malhotra’s images—heightened juxtaposition of light and shadow, geometric abstraction of architectural elements, angular compositions—that show the influence of Herve but they also distinctly varied in how they included human figures within these images, as a form of social commentary.
Malhotra has also worked closely with architects Otto Koenigsberger, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry among others. He continued in Punjab and became the Chief Architect from 1981 to 1985 followed by his position at the New Delhi Municipal Corporation from 1985 to 1987, once again as Chief Architect.
Gupta, Atreyee. “Dwelling in Abstraction Post-Partition Segues into Post-War Art” Third Text. Volume 31, 2017 – Issue 2-3. Pg 433–457. https://www.academia.edu/35074168/Dwelling_in_Abstraction_Post_Partition_Segues_into_Post_War_Art