City becomes a vast photo gallery

Outdoor exhibition

Wondering why a photograph of Amitabh Bachchan in his ‘crime-fighter’ avatar from the film Shahenshah is hung up at Rajiv Chowk Metro station?

Exit from the station and take a stroll of the inner circle of Connaught Place and you will find above the billboards, an array of black and white snaps enlarged and placed in a row. One can spot a mood shot of actor Shabana Azmi and a portrait of artist MF Husain holding an umbrella.

Further inside Central Park, a plethora of excellent photographs, though in shades of monochrome, provide vibrance to the face of visitors who stop by to look at them. All these and the ones at Jantar Mantar, subway near Hanuman Mandir (CP) and Khan Market, are an endeavour to elevate ‘photography’ to attain the status of ‘public art’ as part of one of the biggest outdoor exhibition
‘Fete de la Photo’.

“Inspired from the concept of Fete de la Music, which was created in 1982 in France and is today celebrated as World Music Day, we wanted to celebrate photography and play around the concept of bringing art outside galleries,” says Aruna Adiceam, cultural attaché at French embassy talking about the concept behind this exhibition which has turned the heart of the City into a virtual gallery.

Focusing on making photography a public art, that is accessible to all, the photograph frames hung up in Central Park have become a major attraction for visitors to get themselves clicked in front of the photos. Their actions thus adds another layer to the art of photography which gets documented in a new format.

A similar impact is made by astrophotography by internationally renowned astrophotographers Laurent Laveder, Thierry Legault and Ajay
Talwar at Jantar Mantar. Their objective is to blur the sharp divide between scientific astrophotography and art­­i­stic photo-journalism which in consequence makes the onlooker drool over the pros­pects of balancing the moon on the feet or carrying it home in a handcart!

The exhibition also aims to bring professional and amateur photographers at one pedestal and it is for the same that in December last and January this year, people were asked to send “Photographs shot by them. Through a contest we have shortlisted the best ones which will be put up at billboards at bus stops around CP from March 14 onwards,” adds Aruna making it clear that the exhibition is
going to expand in length and breadth during the coming days.

The mobile photo booth recently showcased at varied places was a hit since expert photographer Anay Mann used backdrops of famous venues in France and juxtaposed them with professional pictures of general public to be presented as a souvenir.

Pushing the boundaries further, the exhibition ‘The File Room Book Museum’ by famed photographer Dayanita Singh – who continuously experiments with new ways to show photographs in book form or as ‘photographic architecture’, has opened at the National Museum recently.

There is much more that can be explored in this  French-India dialogue that has been curated across central Delhi in an unusual format and shall continue till
the end of this month. Watch out for that photo above your head!

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