Inside India’s newest Photo Festival

Images © the artist, courtesy Just Another Photo Festival

India’s newest festival took photography to the slums. We ask the founders of Just Another Photo Festival how the first edition went, and how they plan to grow.

“We’re taking photography to them, rather than inviting them to some gallery opening with wine and cheese,” Manik Katyal told us in September.

Back in 2011 Katyal founded Emaho Magazine, a ground-breaking website showcasing Asian photography alongside internationally renowned artists, which is run from a Himalayan village. Now, with VII Photo mentee Poulomi Basu and British filmmaker CJ Clarke, he’s launched a photo festival in New Delhi – Just Another Photo Festival.

The inaugural edition took place in September, and included 150 photographers from over 35 countries, from big names such as Roger Ballen, Phillip Toledano and Sim Chi Yin to lesser-known image-makers such as the all-female photo collectives Rawiya and Foto Féminas.

Works were displayed in 11 different locations around the city, including public spaces such as shopping malls, universities and even slums. As Basu told us, “We saw an opportunity to do something different, to change the paradigm and put the audience on a pedestal, not the photographer.”

After the festival closed, Katyal was buoyant about its success. “It went beyond our expectations,” he said. “It felt really good to have a lot of people enjoy our small idea, and now we want to take this to different places and different cities.”

The team plans to expand the festival to two additional cities next year, and hopes to collaborate with other cultural organisations and attract more support. In keeping with their guiding principles, they are also in conversation with TV networks who they hope will help them reach a wider audience.

“Showing our work on TV is an exciting prospect because that’s what we want in the end, to take photography to the mainstream,” said Basu. “India is such a huge country, but photography is still limited to very few people. I have always felt that photography is very elitist as a medium – we want to bridge that gap.”

Find out more here.

Shooting on Assignment: the latest issue of BJP looks at the image-makers doing creative commissioned work for smart brands using photography in innovative ways, featuring interviews with Alasdair McLellan, Max Pinckers and KENZO’s creative directors.

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FILED UNDER: Festivals, Photojournalism