Photos: JJ Valaya
“My photography,” says JJ Valaya, “is more about narrative and composition than about technique.” The images presented here, part of a series called “Decoded Paradox”, are indeed beautifully composed narrative pieces. But at the same time, these are examples of technical proficiency that few contemporary photographers can equal. The photographs are Valaya’s attempt to explore how the context can enhance our idea of beauty. His thematic allegiances are still in place: the royal motif, already dominant in most of his designs, is given a new spin here. The elements interact with each other, signifying “aristocratic decadence” on the one hand and the quotidian scenes of ordinary life on
In Valaya’s narrative images, or better yet, conversation pieces, we see stylistic hints of 18th-century royal portraiture. His subjects, placed at centre of the frame, are opulently dressed and exude a sense of high-class hauteur. Yet there’s more happening in the backdrop as ordinary life — with its buildings, landscapes and humdrum figures — takes over. Far from seeming at odds with each other, the two facets, when placed together, make Valaya’s frames look more soulful and harmonious than they would have if the photographer were to narrow his focus down to any one of them.