Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bangalore Photography Festival - 2007

It all started when I received an unexpected mail from my friend about "Bangalore Photography Festival". I rushed like a cyclone to the ADLBAS printed out 10 photographs, headed to Crossover Sports and handed over the same to Prem. A mail from Yolande Berlie made me glad and surprised, all 10 of them had been selected for the exhibition.

BPF commenced in all its glory on 15th of April at Leela Galleria. There were photographs of the professional lensmen like Balachandar, Mahesh Shantaram, Pallon Daruwala, Rudra Sen, Ramya Reddy, Neha Bajaj, Shibu Arakkal, Vivek Mathew and others. Balachandar's work was mostly from Shravanbelagola and he had published the book "Gommata", which was kept for preview. Mahesh Shantaram had featured his works from Srilnaka, which were quite green, and few works from Bangalore (Air show I presume). Ramya Reddy's artsy-craftsy works were as charming and gorgeous as her; I immediately fell in love with a backless lady on the couch. Neha Bajaj's portraits were mesmerizing; I particularly liked the composition and lighting in the portrait of a smoking man and the cute street kid. Vivek's few works were displayed but all three were magnetic, especially the rooster one had nice colours and vivacity. Rudra Sen's landscapes were amazing, the dawn at Manipal was so aesthetic and artistic that many people reckoned it to be a painting and the black and white Himalayan landscape was brilliant. Sai Darshan's photographs were simple yet elegant. Dazzling by their novelty and brilliance, Wasim Khan's works grabbed maximum attention. The genre of fashion photography itself is so alluring, add to it Wasim's creativity, a perfect combo for the viewers. Pallon Daruwalla, an alumnus of Brooks, had displayed mostly his black and white works; they carried a huge price tag along. His sunset shot tremendously impressed me, it was his masterpiece. The ambience of the exhibition was decent, mellifluous music of the grand piano performed by artists with deft fingers soothed and pacified the people watching photographs

Finally there was one section that I was breathlessly eager to have a look, the amateur section. The reason for my eagerness was my participation. I've got two friends alongside who also start searching for my photographs, first row NO, second row NO, third NO, not present in the whole set. There is something behind, again first row NO, second row NO, third NO. Disconcerted and dismayed I spoke to the Crossover crew, with a wry smile on the face he said that the photos were put up randomly, if not today I can find it tomorrow, day after or sometime during the whole week.

Third day I was delighted to see few of my works among the amateur section. I happened to meet the beautiful, graceful and accomplished fine art photographer Ramya Reddy. She was kind enough to spare few minutes for my photographs and gave valuable comments. Happened to talk to few of the media students doing their internship in Indian Express and Deccan Herald. I ran into a bunch of my colleagues, whom I didn’t know personally before that moment.

Fourth day I could meet exquisitely simple Vivek Mathew. He gave me priceless tips about photography, spent considerable time on my photographs and critiqued it like a true professional. He introduced me to Sai Darshan and Meister of photography - Hellmuth Conz, who were very kind hearted to give technical comments on my photographs. My photograph titled "Field of Gold" - the one with silhouette of a skating kid received good amount of praise and appreciation.

Fifth and sixth days were again disheartening for I couldn’t find any of my works. But with intense interest I spent considerable amount of time on amateurs work, for many were as good as professional ones. Difference was it was not framed and given lesser space.

Seventh day was the party day. The ambience looked nicer and brighter with lit candles at corners, tables neatly draped with red cloth carrying a bowl of chips and peanuts. Wine and whiskey glass in rhythmically arranged pattern. Between the pillar and a photo stand I happened to see a face, I recognized in a jiffy. It feels great and joyous to meet a friend in an exhibition whom I had not met for four years, better still, she had grabbed a couple more of her friends to show my works. Fortunately two more photographs of mine were on display. Mahesh Shantaram spoke to me for a while about his photography, career. I ran into veteran photographer Ram Panjaabi, he remembered his early years of photography when the idea of digital was not yet conceived, difficulties of printing and publishing, difficulties of reaching out to the people. We exchanged our contacts and bid good-bye to each other.

Final day had the workshop conducted by Apple on Aperture software. It was an hour spent in Nidhi hall of Leela palace learning about Apple in general, Aperture in particular. The knowledge acquired there would require me to spend a fortune to put that into use, for I'm no Apple user. Post workshop I spoke to Prem of Crossover who gave me some tips and tricks of life and career, and in return I told him that the show was useful and a debut hit, but could be greatly improved. Another close friend of mine barged into the exhibition hall who was kind enough to spare his precious Sunday evening for the exhibition.

Overall the exhibition was a great hit. Crossover sports was overwhelmed with the response they received despite having a per category fee of Rs. 250. It feels good to know there are so many mortals out there doing happy clicks. We amateurs got great exposure, happened to meet some cool people, exchanged thoughts and cards. I guess many professional photographers were brought into limelight here, they could sell their stuff, meet people, get published. I was a tad disappointed about the way amateurs' works were handled but when compared to the good it has made, my qualms are negligible. But my suggestion to Crossover (for the next show) would be to filter the amateurs' works before they are displayed, so that only few good photographs are displayed. I saw few works that were technically not up to the mark to be exhibited - out of focus, unintentional blur. It was a great debut and I hope it ushers in many more photography events in Bangalore.

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