Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019 | Last Update : 11:53 PM IST

Photography at its best

THE ASIAN AGE. | KAVI BHANDARI
Published : Feb 20, 2019, 3:00 am IST
Updated : Feb 20, 2019, 3:00 am IST

A mega month-long photography festival ‘Habitat Photosphere’ is on, in the Capital’s India Habitat Centre.

The awardees get candid about their work and the theme of the exhibition.
 The awardees get candid about their work and the theme of the exhibition.

Habitat Photosphere is initiated by India Habitat Centre and focuses on the theme of Bhu (earth) in its second edition. Speaking about the theme Bhu, Dr Alka Pande (curator of the exhibition) explains, "The Goddess Bhu Devi has been an integral part of the mythology and stories of India, as well as its geography, since the very beginning. It is by weaving the complex mythology that surrounds the elemental narrative of the Earth that we will create a structure between the four projects of our four awardees." The festival starting on February 18, 2019 will include photographic works by the four Photosphere fellowship awardees - Juhi Saklani, Syed Adnan Ahmed, Thulasi Kakkat and Zishaan A. Latif.

This multi-dimensional photography festival is back in a bigger and a far-more inclusive avatar and geared towards the sensitisation of a sustainable environment and cultural sustainability through the medium of photography. The awardees get candid about their work and the theme of the exhibition.

"I used to be a travel writer with Outlook Traveller guide books and magazine. I started taking photos on my travels across India, and realised that it made me happier than any other activity. My project, called Human/Nature suggests that all aspects of human life and culture are so deeply interconnected with nature that the two should not be seen as separate spheres at all. Nature is not outside of us, to be used or appreciated -- we are nature. That is, I have photographically "planted" trees around people, on books, maps, inside houses," says Juhi Saklani. She goes on to say, "I am a self taught artist, and started photographing seriously quite late in life, in my 40s. So, being taken seriously by the senior artists who were the Photosphere jury was beyond my imagination. It gave me much needed confidence and encouragement."

Syed Adnan Ahmed feels that since everyone in our country is aware of rooster fighting as a sport and sport always appeals to everyone. He expects the response to be overwhelming. In fact, he has created a sand pit near his photographs stuck with rooster feathers collected from actual fighting areas, and people really are enjoying this added dimension to photography. He feels that this body of work will be enjoyed by all, from children to adults.  

Thulasi Kakkat's Lost Wilderness documents the ritualistic dance of Theyyam. It draws connections between the natural and the cultural ecosystem in the rich wilderness of the sacred groves of Kaavus, home to Malabar's pantheistic deities.

Zishaan A Latif  replies to being asked how he feels about his work on display by saying, "I feel great. Dr Alka Pande (curator of the exhibition) has given us the best scenography in open areas, so close to all the greenery and nature. All my photographs - whether they are about the land mass of Majuli breaking up due to the aggressive Brahmaputra or a set of maps that showcase the island slowly withering away over the decades - have been beautifully displayed. My favourite set is the one that shows the waters of Brahmaputra juxtaposed against the land mass of Majuli island."

Photosphere has roped in several NGOs to make the festival more inclusive by making it accessible to special needs children and differently abled people as well.

Dr Pande says, " We get more than 7000 people visiting India Habiat Centre everyday, add to that the displays at two other venues that are also part of Habitat Photosphere festival and we are looking at numbers that add up to thousands of people viewing these photographs." She feels that there is a challenge as well. "The challenge is to conceptualise such a prestigious event. Medium really doesn't matter, whether it is paintings, sculpture or photography, curating is about locating the event in a philosophy that is both unique and relevant, in this case, it is cultural and environmental sustainability," she signs off.

Zishaan A Latif  replies to being asked how he feels about his work on display by saying, "I feel great. Dr Alka Pande (curator of the exhibition) has given us the best scenography in open areas, so close to all the greenery and nature. All my photographs - whether they are about the land mass of Majuli breaking up due to the aggressive Brahmaputra or a set of maps that showcase the island slowly withering away over the decades - have been beautifully displayed. My favourite set is the one that shows the waters of Brahmaputra juxtaposed against the land mass of Majuli island."

Photosphere has roped in several NGOs to make the festival more inclusive by making it accessible to special needs children and differently abled people as well.

Dr Pande says, " We get more than 7000 people visiting India Habiat Centre everyday, add to that the displays at two other venues that are also part of Habitat Photosphere festival and we are looking at numbers that add up to thousands of people viewing these photographs." She feels that there is a challenge as well.

"The challenge is to conceptualise such a prestigious event. Medium really doesn't matter, whether it is paintings, sculpture or photography, curating is about locating the event in a philosophy that is both unique and relevant, in this case, it is cultural and environmental sustainability," she signs off.

Tags: india habitat centre, habitat photosphere