Delhi Photo Festival 2013, under the banner of bringing photography into the public space, returned to the Indian capital as an experiment in inclusivity, collaboration and diversity. This article was originally published on Art Radar (18 October 2013).
|Installation view of Sacha Goldberger's Super Mamika at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
The second edition of the Delhi Photo Festival returned to New Delhi, India for two weeks from 27 September to 11 October 2013, with a few pre-festival events through the month of September. Co-organised by Nazar Foundation and the India Habitat Centre (also the primary venue), along with 26 partner galleries across the city, the biennial fair included a selection of varied events designed to have a broad public appeal.
“We sought to evolve the ideology of the festival. It’s at one level our recognition to [sic] the people’s art,” said India Habitat Centre’s Director Raj Liberhan at the opening ceremony. Focusing on the democratic nature of photography as a medium, Liberhan hoped the Delhi Photo Festival would be the kind of event at which “amateurs, professionals and everybody else can rub shoulders with each other. There’s a lot to learn, a lot to know, and every picture is only a step towards a better one.”
|Installation view of Prabuddha Dasgupta's early work at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
I want to have a long string of images, held together by grace, because grace is that undefinable, non-rational, non-linear word that I am looking for…
|Installation view of Flavia Schuster's Admissions Ward at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
Art in the heart of Delhi
|Installation view of Giacomo Brunelli's The Animals at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
The projects had enough space and weren’t cramped one on the other as I’ve seen in many other exhibitions. I think it really showed an effort, a commitment and an interest in researching and promoting art and photography. I think, though I might be wrong, that nowadays India is investing a lot into [photography] whereas in Europe funds are being cut constantly.
I was deeply impressed by the sense of collective creativity. The Habitat Centre displays, together with the amazing range of shows in partner galleries (such as the exceptional shows on Iran and by Pablo Bartholomew, Fabien Charua, and Cop Shiva) really foregrounded an incredible diversity of practice right across the city which was very exciting. The festival programme of talks featured fewer international participants than say Chobi Mela in Dhaka (which has been running for much longer) but presented some wonderful events such as Ram Rahman’s brilliant re-evaluation of Raghubir Singh.
|Installation view of Jason Sangik Noh's Biography of Cancer at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
Although digitalisation has made it easier to take photos, it has become more difficult to find platforms to share them. In that sense it is not democratic – there’s no set mechanism for approaching magazines, publishers and galleries with your work.
|Installation view of Alvaro Laiz/David Rengel's Future Plan at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|
The Delhi Photo Festival is something I’ve looked forward to since its inception in 2011. There has never been anything like it in India and it is a wonderful opportunity for photographers to meet each other and to broaden our horizons. I love everything about it, the exhibitions, the artist talks, the night screenings, the T-shirts! I am sure it will go from strength to strength. It already has.
|Add captionInstallation view of Maika Elan / MoST's The Pink Choice at Delhi Photo Festival 2013, India Habitat Centre. Photo: Kriti Bajaj|