Photography functions primarily as an enabler in these imagers. It is because of the power of a photograph as a document that Ajith is able to use his sculptures to communicate with a viewership that is widespread, and able to expand further the arsenal of materials available to a sculptor; and as such, photography here plays a role that is different from the one it plays when a “traditional” (referring to the tradition of creating long-lasting objects) sculpture is photographed – such sculptures are conceived as three-dimensional objects, and one dimension has to be sacrificed for a photographic document to be created. Ajith often creates his sculptures with a photographic end-product in mind, and is thus able to turn the loss of the dimension of depth into an advantage. Further, he is able to extract hardness and rigidity from materials that are flexible or flowing, and use them as part of his sculptures.
The process of mechanical reproduction of images as prints took a leap with the invention of photography, and later, again with the onset of digitalization. Images can now be converted to lightweight files and shared on the internet, although with a loss of quality and texture. The nature of image-sharing today has changed so much that it has overturned our viewing habits, and it is into this relentless flood that Ajith sprinkles his photographs with no explaining texts. In among the thousands of images one comes across in social media, most fitting into a few categories like selfies, touristic images, and food photographs, these photographs stand out as ones that reject the conformity that so ironically characterizes the internet users.
Apart from utilizing the particular qualities of photography, Ajith uses the medium in a quite self-referential manner. The absurdity of his images, the unnatural juxtapositions, and the placeless-ness of his objects in the “normal” world, clash with the popular understanding of photography as a technique that objectively captures the real. This supposed objectivity of photography is often used as a cover to present fetishized objects tantalizingly close to the viewer, but here, we see a direct reversal of this – Ajith’s photographs of his fantastic objects make the viewer question the objectivity of the photographic image itself.