Shantanu Mukherjee considers himself a photographer because he believes in seeing. Seeing often implies a kind of passivity, however, that he does not fully subscribe to. His concept of “seeing” is more a matter of “sight.” It is vision, not without its philosophical ramifications. It is perception, with all the rational and sensory baggage that follows. These activities are far removed from passivity. They demand a great deal of intellectual, emotional and grim real activity, along with a degree of physical involvement. Seeing properly, he believes, makes claims on all the human faculties. He is insatiable in his lust for sight. He perceives with a passion. He sees, therefore he is a photographer.
Seeing also involves watchfulness. Photography for him is the medium through which he can express himself as a watchful, sentient, emotional and real being. Photography provides him with the equipment for articulating what he has seen. But it does not stop at that. Photography enables him to show the way in which he has seen it. It gives him the flexibility to choose and select, include and exclude material from the vast undifferentiated stream of perception. It allows him to shape his seeing, mould his perception, chisel his vision into telling what he has felt and thought and analysed and constructed from the continuum of sight. Photography gives him the freedom to utter his world of sight within a world of ideas. Whether it be human existence in its myriad states and conditions, nature in its infinite variety and moods, art and the artist, the tension and poise of human relationships, the mystery of human emotions, or men and women and biological life-forms as they relate to their environment, he can translate his reaction as a thinking, watching individual to all of these and more when he photographs. He does not work throughout the year. He sees, he thinks. And when he reaches a point in his thought, he starts working. Photography then becomes an extension of his thinking, feeling and watching mind.