Spirit of independence through the lens

Spirit of independence through the lens

Visual delight

Three noted photographers across four cities – this is exactly what ‘Artistique’ has on offer this year. Featuring works by Sarker Protick, Shibu Arrakal and Vickram Bawa along with amateurs on the theme of ‘independence’, the exhibition intends to give viewers a feel of the different styles and segments of photography, yet draw a similarity.

“For the longest time, we have been noticing that photography in India is still not considered as an art form. Even today, when the aspiring generation envisions taking up photography, the usual response is ‘you will click group photos in front of a wedding stage?’ For other creative fields, an individual is always referred to as an artist, but the word changes to a ‘photographer’ when it comes to this segment. We, as the oldest and leading photography publication in the country, wanted to change that and bring it at the same level on an international standard. This was why Artistique was conceptualised in 2013,” Bhavya Desai, editor and group head, Asian Photography magazine, tells Metrolife.

‘Artistique’, that aims to promote photography as an art form and the culture of picture taking in India, is split in two sections – the art exhibit and the contest. While the exhibit features leading national and international photographers, the contest is for readers of the magazine.

“Our endeavour has been to feature a variety of works from different artists shooting different segments under a cohesive theme, which adds uniformity to the whole exhibit. So this year, we have featured the award winning work of Sarker Protick (winner of World Press Photo 2015), Shibu Arrakal (fine-art photographer) and Vickram Bawa (commercial and fashion photographer),” Desai says.

With ‘independence’ as its theme, the competition had three categories: black and white, moments (action or emotion) and conceptual.

“The idea behind the theme is open to an artist’s interpretation, which means it could either be his expression, work or even a vision that depicts the nature of independence to him,” explains Desai.

 So, while Protick’s What Remains documents his grandparents — John and Prova; Arakkal’s Wall is an exploration of the meaning of freedom and independence; and Bawa’s Everyday is a dream to me capture moments of a time and space in posterity.
Explaining his monochromatic series, Bawa says that it is an extension of what he sees, breathes and lives every day.

“I have been shooting this series unknowingly... My whole life is a memory that I would like to capture on the camera, and as such I have a habit of shooting practically everything my mind sees as a visual. I have been shooting this series for the last 20 years,” Bawa tells Metrolife.

Sharing the reason behind clicking his images in monochrome, he says, “I personally love bright colours, but I feel when an image is presented in black and white, without any visceral colours to divert your attention, what lies underneath is a personal interpretation that the viewer forms a bond with.”

With Artistique being a travelling show this year, it has already been displayed in Kolkata and Delhi. It will be exhibited in Bengaluru from September 24 to 31 before finishing off in Mumbai in January 2016.

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