Sanjeev Saith (b. 1958)
In his long association with Indian photography, Sanjeev Saith has been active as a photographer, writer and editor, and curated numerous photobooks and exhibitions of works by others in the field, such as Prashant Panijar, Arvind Hoon and Ronny Sen.
Saith was born in New Delhi. He began pursuing photography while he was studying economics at the University of Delhi. Due to an interest in mountaineering, he spent the next several years living in the Himalayas, where he sold prints of his photographs to support himself. The photographs from this period comprise his first book, A Journey Down the Ganga (1989). Consisting of images alongside poetry inspired by the lyrics of Gulzar, Anand Bakshi and Shailendra, the minimalist book features images of the river at various stages of its journey — from its origin at the Gangotri glacier to its delta in the Bay of Bengal. Following the book’s publication, he took a break from photographing to reassess his practice. In 1984, he was also a part of the camera crew for Everest 1984: India’s Expedition To Mt Everest, a documentary on the fourth Indian Everest Expedition.
In 2002, due to his parents’ deteriorating health, Saith put his camera away and dedicated himself to taking care of them. Three years later, using a Nokia phone his brother left behind during a visit home, he began taking photographs of his parents and their daily lives. At the 2011 edition of the Delhi Photo Festival, he released these images in the form of a photobook titled Happy Goodnight. In 2019, he published his third book, A Negative Year: a collection of colour photographs of the streets of India, shot on a roll of film between 1992–93.
Saith has exhibited widely in India and internationally. His photographs have also been featured as a part of other books, including Kashmir—The Himalayan Paradise (1990) by Marie D’souza and Himachal Pradesh (1992) by Ashok Dilwali. In addition to his own photography, he has been the editor of several photobooks including Pan India – A Shared Habitat (2009) by Prashant Panjiar, Unsettled Waters (2015) and Across the Street (2019) by Arvind Hoon, India at Home (2016) by Amit Pasricha and When Abba was Ill (2014) by Adil Hasan. He has also been the curator of notable exhibitions such as King, Commoner, Citizen (2007), an exhibition of images by Prashant Panjiar, and Kanu’s Gandhi (2017), a collection of Kanu Gandhi’s photographs of Mahatma Gandhi.
Saith’s photographs have been exhibited and collected by galleries and museums across the world, including the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; and the Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK.
As of writing, the photographer lives and works in New Delhi.
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