October 30, 2015 12:19:05 am
The word “democracy” seems to have found a hold at the Delhi Photo Festival (DPF) as amid a host of national and international stalwarts there are also some of the more interesting and prominent young names who are showcasing their works. Considering that the core DPF team itself comprises three young prominent shutterbugs as its curators along with co-directors Dinesh Khanna and Prashant Panjiar – Sohrab Hura, Sumit Dayal and Vidura Jang Bahadur – the line-up of emerging photographers from across the world is quite impressive. We pick four young, ace photographers from India for their technical and thematic pursuits:
Vinit Gupta, 35
It was supposed to be a 15-day assignment for an environmental NGO, but Vinit Gupta ended up spending more than nine months in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, in 2013-14. The only remaining forest patch in the city, Mahan, pulled him in every time he visited. Sometimes he protested alongside the tribals fighting for basic rights, at others his camera captured their struggle and resilience. This documentation finds itself at DPF in “Where They Belong”. “People in urban spaces look at them as exotic people. I wanted to show their real, humane side. Apart from pictures, I have also collected testimonies of the elderly about their lives from 50 years ago and their views on the transition,” says the Delhi-based photographer.
Soham Gupta, 27
Kolkata-based Soham Gupta’s “Angst” takes after his own sentiment of deep anger. “I’ve had a hard childhood and I have been angry with the way the society doesn’t care. This series is my reaction to the trials the weaklings of the society have to undergo,” says Gupta. He takes one to the dark, dingy back-alleys of his city, to the “ones without an identity” — the homeless. “What is the dead of the night like for those who cannot and do not keep track of Mondays and Fridays? Those, for whom a drink is not a celebration but a means of surviving the next 24 hours? Those, who are engulfed in a foul odour in the dimly lit lane that leads up to the local bar?”, he says. From one shot to the other, Gupta’s stark black-and-white portraits both shock and amaze.
Arun Vijai Mathavan, 27
Bangalore-based Arun Vijai Mathavan’s “Urban Mountains” evokes a bleak yet an overwhelming impact of the biggest outcome of urbanisation — waste. An engineer-turned-photographer, the National Institute of Design-graduate explores, in his series, the abundance of the byproduct of rapid modernisation. “In 2007, for the first time in human history, more than 50 per cent of the world’s population is living in urban areas. In India, especially, the large megapolises of Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta accommodate thousands of new migrants everyday. The challenges for these cities in providing space, housing and work all pale, however, in comparison to the biggest challenge of all, which is waste,” says Mathavan’s concept note.
Karan Vaid, 33
Karan Vaid comes from a family where they probably love dogs more than the humans. As a child, he often accompanied his parents on road trips for pet shows. For the 33-year-old, it’s this memory that has resulted in “The Indian Dog Show Project”, a series that will be displayed here. “I pretend to be a paparazzi photographer at these dog shows. It’s my attempt at documenting a subculture in India. It’s also a way of showing the aspirations of a ‘club’,” says Vaid. The series comprises photos of great danes posing with their owners, unscrupulous dog dealers and French bulldogs being groomed for a show, among others.
The Delhi Photo Festival opens today and will run till November 8.
Visit http://www.delhiphotofestival.com for schedule
The story appeared in print with the headline The Young And The Restless
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