Written by Uthra Chandrasekhar | Captured by Archi Saxena, Kashif Ali and Sagar | Edited by Archi Saxena
The fourth edition of the Indian Photography Festival (IPF) began today at the State Gallery of Art, Hyderabad, openingthe doors to a diverse range of photography exhibitions, talks, panel discussions, workshops, portfolio reviews, book launches, photo screenings, and masterclasses with some of world’s finest photographers handpicked by Festival Director Aquin Matthews.
The month-long festival will see 550 photographers from over 52 countries converging at the festival.
The Festival was inaugurated by Jayesh Ranjan, IT Secretary, Telangana. “Today, whoever owns a smartphone calls themselves a photographer, but it’s the skill with which we develop the picture along with its composition that distinguishes the majority from the extraordinary,” Ranjan said in his presidential remarks.
Festival Director Aquin said how he “envision(s) the festival as a platform for knowledge and resources that most photographers do not have access to”, adding, “we wish to use the platform to address social issues through the medium of photography while at the same time engaging with budding photographers.”
On stage was some of the world’s most well-known photographers, editors, and photojournalists. Nick Ut, who shot the iconic image of the ‘Napalm Girl’ that effectively ended the Vietnam War, referred to the social and transformative power of photography. “A picture can change society,” he said. The images shot by Nick during the Vietnam War are among the main displays at the festival.
Sandro Miller,a globally acclaimed award-wining advertising photographer,in his remarks said how he believes that “photography is a great educator”.“We learn about culture, disasters, people all around the world through photos,”said Sandro addressing the packed audience during at the opening of the festival.
Berlin-based artist Boris Eldagsen returned to Hyderabad after 20 years as one of the keynote speakers at IPF along with a collaborative projectwith a Dhaka-based artist, Taolad. The exhibit, described as“eccentric, radical and colourful”, seeks to bring together Eastern and Western approaches to “defining the deep unknown”.
Melissa Golden, a leading photo-journalist noted for her work replete with both humour and humanity, said“It’s my job to tell stories and India is a land of billion stories.”
Robin Schwartz, who has been in India for a month before travelling to the photo fest and best known for her work, “The Amelia and the Animals”,referred to the “interconnectedness of the interspecies world that we inhabit along with animals of all varieties”.
The stage was shared by Senior Editor for Global Issuesat Nat Geo, James Welford, who will be taking a workshop at the festival. along with being one of the key note speakers, and Mark Edward Harris whosephoto assignments have taken him to 98 countries across six continents. Harris also conducted a discussion with Nick and an interactive session with the audience at the inaugural.
Prabhakar Kusuma, a Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and who started his photographic journey with the Federation of Indian Photography in 1977,in his remarks said, “photography is more human, intuitive, and less mechanical”. Vineet Vohra, a “self-taught photographer”,who takes photography to the streets, said “street photography is a passion that I live like a discipline”. The inaugural also featured Rohit Chawla, one of India’s top contemporary photographers.Among his exhibitsis “The QuietPortrait”,a series of portraits of some the most influential people in the world including, Robert De Nero, Sachin Tendulkar, Manmohan Singh, and Amitabh Bachhan, among others.
(For details on discussions, workshops, and shows, visit www.indianphotofest.com.)