Navin Sakhuja has been a practicing ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal eye surgeon for the last 25 years, the last 20 in private practice and attached to some of the capital’s top hospitals. He graduated from the Maulana Azad Medical College in 1985, and subsequently joined the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He is an active member of the Delhi Ophthalmological Society, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Navin’s interest in looking at the world in new ways led him to photography several years ago. The passion for silver bromide has given way to the digital format, and his public showings have kept track of these changes over time. His first works were displayed at the India Habitat Centre in 2006, called “Denizens of Delhi’s” and the second a year later again at the India Habitat Centre called “Wide Open Spaces” A third, which was a group show, titled the “Colours of Life”, also took place at the India Habitat Centre in 2007
Navin’s third solo show was held at the Alliance Francaise de Delhi in August 2009. Called “In Search of a Greater God,” the exhibition was woven around the ruins of the majestic Angkor Vat temples in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the evocative Buddhist site at Bagan, in Burma. He subsequently went onto to photograph the Slot Canyons of Arizona , which were displayed in an Exhibition titled“Light in the Passage” in the Visual Arts Gallery of the India Habitat Centre in April, 2011; this showing of the subterranean landscape was sponsored by the Discovery Channel. Most recently he has showcased his work on the Icelandic Winterscape, in a show titled “Illusions”, also sponsored by the Discovery Channel and displayed in the prestigious Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre , in April 2013.
His next exhibition(as yet untitled) in December 2015, will showcase the vast expanses of the Kalahari and Thar deserts in all their splendor.
Despite his abiding passion for photography, Navin maintains that it is still his second love. His first remains his family. The Sakhuja family live in New Delhi, India.
The fact that I am a full-time practicing eye surgeon with a driven passion for photography is a matter of endless questioning. Is it that I see things “differently” because of my intimate knowledge of the eye? Can I, perhaps, calculate the quality of the refracting light as it falls upon the camera lens so much better because I perfectly understand what it does to the sinews of the retina?
The answer is no. I love my work and I am passionate about my art. I don’t pretend to ask myself whether it is ophthalmology that drives my passion for photography or the other way round, because I believe both are deeply related in the sense that they require total commitment. It may be that my medical background demands of me the kind of precision and attention to detail that is requisite for the art of photography. It may be that my training in the science of the eye allows me to create new dimensions with the camera that didn’t exist before.
The truth is that while ophthalmology and photography are all about perceiving light in the best way possible, there are several ways of seeing. Over the years as I have wielded the camera, I know I have imbued my photographs with my own core. The eye looks through the lens, of course, but it is the mind, which impels the finger to trigger the shutter.
I know that the perfect photograph has never been taken and the perfect eye surgery has never been performed. To have the opportunity to do both – I believe I am twice blessed.