Hyderabad: Visual storytelling makes stories easier to understand. The ongoing Indian Photo Festival (IPF) Hyderabad 2021 at the State Art Gallery showcases the prowess of some Indian and international photographers.
This is India’s longest running international photography festival showcasing events from India and other countries. Entries received in the open call are shortlisted for the exhibition. The current edition, which is being held in a mix of physical installations and virtual sessions and will be on till December 19, depicts strength, pain, weakness, helplessness, social ills, war and strife and more. Some of them are sensitive and need viewer discretion.
For instance, city-based Sathyaprasad Yachendra’s work is about the mighty Himalayas, bringing to the fore the hostile climate, difficult terrain and scale. Photojournalist Prashant Panjiar’s series -‘That which is unseen’- includes one picture titled ‘Beti Bachao’ of a school teacher in Baiya village holding his two nieces. It dates back to 1988 and highlights the prevalence of female infanticide. Another photo by him captures Sadhus at the Kumbh.
French photographer Emmanuelle Leblanc’s ‘Shine’ has clicked women against vast coloured backgrounds. Another photographer Divya Cowasji, with her series `Remember Me’, explains the idea of family connection and identities of women in her family through their possessions.
“There is a visual clutter out there with thousands of pictures uploaded to social media channels. The Facebooks, Instagrams and Snapchats are garnering new subscribers because they use visuals to tell a story. Tools and technology used in photography have changed but the essence remains the same – to tell a story,” Aquin Mathews, IPF founder and artistic director, told Telangana Today.
“Exhibitions teach people to pause. They cannot scroll or swipe here. The mobiles are no match to seeing large sized prints,” he says, adding that the selection tells how photography can be used to document, create an impact, speak the unspoken, flag social ills and also delicate subjects like the mental health and climate.
IPF has partnered with National Geographic and its photo editors review the portfolios. It is also facilitating workshops, artist talks and master classes on visual storytelling and editing. It also gives grants to photographers for commissioned projects.
“Gear does not matter as much as the technique, composition and use of photo elements. One should know the basics to be able to use the gear in different conditions. If you have to add new equipment, it must be lenses for they bring a new perspective. There is money in photography for quality work,” says Mathews, who is a fashion photographer and works in India and Australia.
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