DPF 2011: India’s First Photo Festival

 

October promises to be a superb feast for photographers, with the Delhi Photo Festival 2011. We give you a brief teaser on what to expect.

The country has never seen a dedicated festival that celebrates photography, but that is but come about to change. The brainchild of photographers Prashant Panjiar and Dinesh Khanna, the Delhi Photo Festival 2011 will be held in the capital, from 15–28 October at the India Habitat Centre.
It showcases the work of over 60 photographers from almost 25 different countries on the theme ‘Affinity’. Photographers whose works have been selected are a mix of stalwarts and youngsters, including Raghu Rai, Sam Harris, Sudharak Olwe, Atul Loke, Amit Madheshiya, Bharat Choudhary and Raj Lalwani of Better Photography magazine.
The festival will have workshops, review sessions and dialogue with some of the biggest names in Indian and international photography. While the exhibitions are on till the 28th, the best time to visit is between 15–23 October.
For more information and to see the complete event listing, visit www.delhiphotofestival.com

 

Here is a quick look at some of the exhibitions you can expect at the Delhi Photo Festival

Raghu Rai—Backdrop Series

Easily one of India’s biggest names, Raghu Rai is a part of Magnum Photos and has inspired an entire generation of young Indian photographers.

This image is a part of the series 'Backdrops'. Photograph/Raghu Rai

This image is a part of the series 'Backdrops'. Photograph/Raghu Rai

Photography started becoming an accessible and affordable medium since 1855, making portraits against a backdrop became a common trend. Raghu Rai’s images try to explore why the portraits shot in the second half of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century were so unique in their appeal. Was it the riveting eyes of each individual, which got intensified due to the long exposures that were required in those times? According to Rai, he has given his subjects a sense of privacy by placing them against a backdrop, and yet included all that was going on in and around him, so that the experience is wholesome.

Kanu Gandhi—Kanu’s Gandhi
Kanu Gandhi was Gandhiji’s grandnephew. His images form an extremely intimate chronicle of the last ten years of the Mahatma’s life.

A picture of Gandhiji, the image belongs to the series 'Kanu's Gandhi'. Photograph/Kanu Gandhi

A picture of Gandhiji, the image belongs to the series 'Kanu's Gandhi'. Photograph/Kanu Gandhi

Gandhiji allowed his grandnephew Kanu to photograph him on the condition that no flash would be used, that he would never be asked to pose and the ashram would not finance his photography in any way. Though some of these images are well known to us, he was never credited for them. Kanu passed away in 1986. Over the years, some of his pictures have been reproduced in books on Gandhi, but his work has never been published or acknowledged for its historical and artistic importance. This special showcase aims to correct this anomaly and give a forgotten great photographer his due credit.

Kannagi Khanna—Hollywood
Kannagi Khanna is a 22-year old photographer who has worked under Raghu Rai and also worked with the National Geographic channel.

From the series 'Hollywood'. Photograph/Kannagi Khanna

From the series 'Hollywood'. Photograph/Kannagi Khanna

Kannagi’s work explores a unique interpretation of Affinity, between two entities that are geographically far apart and have no connection with each other otherwise. This 22 year old has photographed a small slum in the city of Ahmedabad called Gulbhaitekra.
Interestingly, the slum is popularly called Hollywood because the women living here have a rustic beauty that is found to resemble that of Hollywood stars. To explore the concept, Kannagi has juxtaposed the slum women with posters of glamourous Hollywood actresses, which are put up in their surroundings.

Martin Bogren—Lowlands
Bogren wanted to be a musician, but ended up shooting bands instead. He now prefers a personal subjective approach and explores what he calls ‘small subjects’.

This image is from the series 'Lowlands'. Photograph/Martin Bogren

This image is from the series 'Lowlands'. Photograph/Martin Bogren

Martin Bogren photographs the southern Skane province of Sweden in a personal exploration of the memories of his childhood. Photographed in the village where he grew up, Lowlands, according to him, is an outer and inner journey to a place and a mood.
While he chooses to adopt a documentary narrative, the images are more about childhood, adolescence and the longing to get away and dream of something that was bigger than the village. According to Bogren, the place has always made him feel like an outsider, his photographs project the sense of dislocation that he still feels.
In addition to this interpretation of Affinity, he is also exhibiting another body of work at the Delhi Photo Festival 2011.

Tags: Backdrop Series, better photography, Delhi Photo Festival 2011, Hollywood, Kannagi Khanna, Kanu Gandhi, Kanu's Gandhi, Lowlands, Martin Bogren, October 2011, Raghu Rai, Showcase