November 6, 2015 by aliya
Delhi Photo Festival and the ones who “aspired”
Delhi Photo Festival and the ones who aspired
The biennial, Delhi Photo Festival, in its third installment is all about “aspire”, the theme of the festival this year. One of the first photography festivals in India, the Delhi Photo Festival is more than one can ask for. Organized by Nazar Foundation in Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the festival aims to give independent voices a platform to speak and promote photography as an art in the country. The 10 day festival (31st Oct-8th Nov) has works of over 40 photographers being exhibited, apart from Portfolio reviews, photography masterclass, book launches, photographers’ talks happening. There are partner galleries like the National Museum, Art Heritage gallery where a number of exhibitions and events are happening too.
Having always admired this powerful art and to quench our thirst for stories, we went to the Delhi Photo Festival. The festival is like thousands of stories put into a much relatively small area; from stories of Europe to stories of Russia. We looked at works of various artists and, even though the Delhi Photo Festival is a must visit for everyone (not just photographers), we wouldn’t mind sharing few of our favorites from the festival.
The works are exhibited in the Twin Art Galleries and Mati Ghar lawns. We visited the Twin Art galleries first. Right at the entrance, there were a number of photo books being laid out on tables; The Photobook as an Art Object curated by Regina Anzengber. The Photo books being exhibited aren’t only full of pictures for one to grasp the stories and themes that make them what they’re; the words, the stories on the introduction page introduce one to the vision of the photographer without messing up with the onlookers’ interpretation. And, that’s true for the works of any other photographer in the festival.
With stories of war, turmoil, lives of migrants and history, the Delhi Photo Festival plays well with the emotions of an onlooker.
The Sochi Project is a collaborative work between Rob Hornsta and Arnold Van Bruggen. They are telling the story of Sochi which is surrounded by conflict zones which was the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.With their vivid portraitures of individuals living their lives in the war stricken area, they have almost done an anthropological fieldwork in contrasting the glamorous Olympics to the horrid lives of People in Sochi. With a picture of a last letter of a son to his mother to the dark lives of people; The Sochi Project is one of our favorites from the festival.
To another war story told in pictures by the ace photo journalist of all times ;Kishor Parekh’s Bangladesh : A Brutal Birth , on the 1971 Bangladesh War is not classic and phenomenal for no reason. He set foot in the war stricken country of Bangladesh and had the courage to dowhat only few can think of, produced over a two week period , does more than what a history book could do. There is almost a small area dedicated to the photography genius ; with testimonials, his cigar and also pictures from his family album.
The War Dreams by Jean-Marc Calmi and Valentina Piccini of Italy is an interesting work , focused on human beings rather than the clashes, in an attempt to get viewers to better empathize with the subjects. A simple question was asked to a group of Ukranian soldiers of a military base, prior to their departure to their front line. A Polaroid was taken and their visions and dreams were annotated in a diary. The works gives an interesting narrative to the whole subject of war and an onlooker feels something more powerful than empathy.
A project, Humanae by Angelica Dass which is an ongoing project, intends to deploy a chromatic range of the different human skin colors, by using the Pantone Color guide is an interesting take on the duality of identity of color and identity. We happened to bump into Angelica , and she’s photographing people at the Delhi Photo Festival too for her project. I was very luckily the first one to be photographed by her in the Festival. We clicked her too for her street style.
In the MatiGhar Lawns, the work which is a series of self portraits taken by Oliver Culmann, incarnates himself. He humorously examines societal codes and identities in India. He edits himself into these identities in Indian setting of a photo studio. SarkerProticks Love Me or Kill Me on the Bangladeshi Film Industry, Kingdom of Girls photographed by Karolin Kluppel in a matrilineal society in North Eastern India and curated by Orijit Sen are some of our favorites.
These were some of our favorite works from the festival. There is no work in the Festival we did not admire. But, writing about everything doesn’t do justice to these phenomenal works. It’s a must visit for everyone to soak in the stories woven by these artists. There’s also the cultural festival going on in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for arts. So , a visit to IGNCA would mean killing two birds with a stone. These two festivals at IGNCA made us meet some amazing people too; some photographers, writers and people representing different myths and cultures of India. So, here’s varied street style from different facets of India.