The Urban Water Photography Workshop from Chennai Photo Biennale kickstarted yesterday with 15 photographers, hand picked from across the world. The Workshop presented by PhotoConcierge and organised by Goethe Institut and Travelling Lens, indeed have an incredible responsibility on their shoulders for ‘Water’ is a resource that is fast depleting.
The Photography Workshop requires the participants primarily to focus on waterscapes in and around Chennai and the various social, economic and cultural issues faced around it. As Helmut Schippert, Director of Goethe Institut Chennai, beautifully stated “Chennai is pampered by nature, but most people living in the city are yet to realize its intrinsic value”. Goethe Institut is a non-profit German Cultural Association operational world wide and have given the infrastructure to conduct the various sessions and discussions on Chennai Photo Biennale.
One might judge that the theme was selected after the recent catastrophe of heavy monsoon (flooding) in the City, but in reality, the idea was conceived several months back, even before Chennai was marked as the Disaster Zone!
Varun Gupta, Director of Travelling Lens and a ace photographer himself, re-emphasized on the fact that the theme of the workshop ‘Urban Waters’ is indeed an extremely ambitious and critical topic of the hour. Therefore the photographers from the workshop are expected to do their research and portray their story of ‘Urban Water’ through photographs. The objective according to Varun is not just to photograph and to display them in public spaces but to engage people’s attention to the story behind it and bring forth associations that are working on such social awareness issues coupled with the support derived from common people.
The most interesting aspects of Chennai Photo Biennale is that, the participants will be mentored by expert photographers including Munem Wasif, Ravi Agarwal and Andreas Definer. Secondly, photographs taken during the workshops by the participants, will be displayed in public spaces including MRTS Railway Stations. In a place like Chennai, where people still gather in common public spaces for socializing, such thought provoking imageries are sure to drive home some serious thoughts.
The orientation session, also had Nityanand Jayaraman, who is part of Vettiver Koottamaippu (Collective). A fountain of knowledge on environment based issues, Nitty, as he is usually called, startled the participants of the workshop and the other attendees with his statistics on how infrastructural development has had several horrid effects on Chennai. He took us through maps of various ‘once upon a lake’ sections of Chennai, which were encroached eventually and suffered the wrath of the recent rains in Chennai.
PhotoConcierge, the Title Sponsor for Urban Water Workshop, represented by one of its Co-Founder, Shefalii Dadabhoy, gave a brief talk about their digital market place platform – which hosts more than 50 genres of photography including Documentary, Portraiture, Fashion, Lifestyle, Astro etc. Home to a very unique feature called ‘Requests’ – PhotoConcierge, encourages brands, designers and publications with any requirement to specify their media needs with their budgets! Shefalii Dadabhoy said, “The world is opening up to visual storytelling imageries, that exposes unseen or ignored realities and PhotoConcierge is exploring to bring such stories to light via documentary and editorial photographs.”
PhotoConcierge will be bringing forth to its readers frequent updates on the Chennai Photo Biennale. Stay connected with us, as the participants start their walk around the City for their first day of photo shoot. Ensure to be part of this campaign ‘Urban Water’ by doing your part!
To Contribute, photograph the waterscape in your area and upload on Facebook and Instagram with #PhotoConciergeUW, #UrbanWater and tag @PhotoConcierge.