Vanishing phones, Arindam Thokder


The yellow public phones, omnipresent in most Indian cities -drop a coin and it’s at your service. Like all other Indian Cities, Bangalore of course has many of them. When I moved to Bangalore back in 2005, without a local number to make calls on, I was dependent on these yellow Phones for communication. My wife also used these phones to call me whenever she ran out of mobile prepaid limit. With the mobile phone revolution and its easy affordability, everyone has now at least one and sometimes two mobile phones. This certainly is drawing a curtain over the yellow pay-phone’s future. The shop keepers, who used to make 250-300 Rupees of coins each day, inform me that it’s now even hard to get 20-30 Rupees a day out of these phones. Lately I have noticed them vanishing from many places. I decided to document this swiftly disappearing phenomenon and life around these pay phones, before they vanish from the landscape of urban life completely.

Spirituality, Industry, and Death on the Ganges, Giulio Di Sturco

The Ganges River is a symbol of Indian civilization and spirituality—it is a source of poetry and legend that is older than Athens or Jerusalem. For centuries, people have journeyed here to find the heart of Hindu culture in India. As part of the preservation and renewal of ancestral traditions, food, flowers and other religious offerings are set afloat across its waters every day. But now, the Ganges is on the brink of an ecological crisis.

It is a common belief among Hindu pilgrims that these waters are so pure and holy that they are exempt from any harm. And yet, every year, roughly 32,000 corpses are cremated in Varanasi, contaminating the waters and those who bathe in it. With the addition of rotting animal carcasses, a foamy layer of scum is often seen along some parts of the river. In addition, the cities on its banks have inadequate sewer systems and sewage treatment plants, adding to the toll of children who suffer and die from water-borne diseases. Thus, India’s green revolution has also been detrimental: formerly barren lands are heavily irrigated and fertilized, leading to an exploitation of water resources and fertilizer runoff into the river.

In the past, the river goddess Ganga flowed wild and free, ripping through the Indian landscape with vigor and might, beginning with the roaring, icy waters in the Himalayas and running down to the Bay of Bengal. But now, water availability in the Ganges basin is highly dependent on the monsoon. Due to global warming, dramatic changes in the climate have significantly altered the timing, intensity, and duration of the rainfall, changing the amount of available water. The Ganges is already running dry in many places, and as weather patterns become irregular, parts of the river simply cease to exist for periods of time, dramatically affecting the lives of people who depend on the river for their livelihood and spiritual well-being

This series aims to add fuel to the current discussion surrounding the fate of the Ganges at this historical junction, where we have the power to shape not only the physical but also the spiritual geography of a nation. The main character in this story is a non-human entity: a river. And yet, I decided to treat the Ganges as a human being, and create a series that flowed as if I was documenting the life of a person. Indeed, the Ganges recently became the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as the country’s people.

Throughout the course of this project, I traveled the entire length of the Ganges. For more than eight years, I documented the lives of the people who live along the river, witnessing firsthand the devastating effects of climate change, industrialization, and urbanization. In Hindu mythology, the Ganges is considered a “Tirtha,” which means a crossing point between heaven and earth. My fear is this bridge may crumble in our lifetime.

Giulio Di Sturco

Avishek Das

Avishek Das is an Indian born Photographer. Over the past 6 years he has been actively associated with this field of photography. He is the Chairman of Creative Art Solution – A Registered Photography Club of India under Federation of Indian Photography & Liason Officer of Master of Light Photographic Association for Asia & India.

His photographs and writings have already been published in different Websites & Photo competition in national & International level ( Italy , France , Argentina , Serbia, Romania , Wales , Greece , Canada , China , Bosnia , Malaysia , Bulgaria , Bosnia , Macedonia, Turkey , UK , Bangladesh , Slovakia , UAE , Indonesia ) , National Geographic India & US Edition (35 Times) , 1X .com , Vogue , Dodho Magazine , Asian Photography , Better Photography , 121 Clicks , Creativeimagemagazine and many more .He bagged more than 250+ Awards (National & International) including Bronze,Silver & Gold Medal from Royal Photographic Society , Photographic Society of America , International Association of Art Photographers , United Photographers International , Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique for his Photographic works .
His significant achievement like – Grand Winner of Ariano Film Festival – Italy (Digital Photo Category) , ICICI Bank Privilege Moments Zonal Category Winner (India) , Asian Photography Artistique Special Mention Award (India) , Metropolis Asia Runner Up Award – Street Photo Category , Finalist in HIPA Award & Siena International Photo Award , Silver Medal Winner in Px3 Paris Global Photo Award , National Award Winner- Sony World Photography Awards . He has also been Rated World No 1 Top Exhibitor in Photographic Society of America’s Who’s Who In Photography Book 2016 – Photo Jouranism Section.

He has been Appointed as Jury Member from Russia , Bosnia , Serbia , India for different International Photography Competitions. For his Photographic Development & Achievement recently he has been Awarded with Distinction EFIAP (Excellence FIAP) from Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (France) and Crown Level 2 by Global Photographic Union , SSS/Y by Sille Art Gallery , Turkey.

Complex City, Arindam Thokder


Large cities in India have some distinctive characteristics. Among other things they are large, busy, and chaotic. Since I was raised in a small town in northeast India my first reaction, when visiting such a city, was to be overwhelmed by its complexity. I was fascinated by the skyscrapers, hoardings, traffic, and the large numbers of people (many of who were, just like me, chasing their dreams). After moving to Bangalore, I began to roam its streets with my camera. Soon I discovered beauty in the most mundane of everyday encounters. I became enamored with colors in a market, the play of shadows on a street, and the unintentional balletic dance of passing strangers. Photographing these kinds of things has brought many smiles to my face, and that’s why I’m looking forward to continuing my ongoing journey of discovery.

God Never Talks. But the Devil Keeps Advertising, Debiprasad Mukherjee

In the past 5 years, India has made its prominence felt in the world map, even on the moon and Mars. India became a part of the nuclear club, earned the tag of the world’s largest software exporter, exported the missile, and featured in the list of many countries that has the highest growth rate of GDP.

On the contrary, the country witnessed the heart wrenching episode of a woman being titled “witch” because she could not fulfill her husband’s needs of pleasure. ’Exorcism’ is what they termed this episode.

As luck had it, I had experienced the same at 2016 Ujjain Kumbha Mela. India, Hinduism, Sadhus, Yoga, Kumbha Mela—-all are synonymous to the world. Known as the “largest peaceful gathering in the world”, the Kumbha Mela is hosted in 4 different locations in India (every 12 years). The world witnesses the “largest aggregation of religious pilgrims”. In 2016, Kumbha Mela was held in Ujjain. Located in Madhya Pradesh, through the medium sized city Ujjain runs the pious Sipra river.22nd April to 21st May 2016 saw the accumulation of few millions of people.

Near about 14 kms from the city of Ujjain, in Bawan Kund, near the banks of the Sipra River, the “Ghost Fair-Exorcism” was being hosted. Two different viewpoints exist regarding the nomenclature of “Bawan Kund”. Some believe that the name has been derived from “Brahma Kund” where Lord Brahma used to perform his yagna, while others believed that the name has its origin from the 52 wells, which stands erect near the Keshavark temple on the Sipra River. The construction is nearly 1000 years old and has many pillars, wells and other bodies which stands unified and the Sipra River looks like a waterfall as it flows through the construction. This place has a weird aura and a feeling of mysticism surrounds it, with broken stone structures, a damp smell filling the air, cobwebs, muddy puddles and the smell of flowers offered by the pilgrims.

On the banks of Sipra, in Bawan Kund, ‘exorcism’ took a greater height, where in the name of religion, people were being beaten up ruthlessly. Thousands of pilgrims from interiors of different states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan etc.) had accumulated here in the name of pilgrimage. They had brought their relatives and friends to free them from evil spirits and the exorcists were violently beating up and ruthlessly hurting the so-called evil women, in exchange of money and valuables. Vimladevi from Gaya, Bihar, was unable to bear a child , Sitadevi from MP was not fulfilling her marital duties properly, Jamuna who came all the way from Kausambhi, UP was mentally retarded , Bindoo from MP’s Raisen was marked as an evil spirit because she had problems in her menstrual cycle and many more who fell prey to these unkind acts of brutality. On the occasions where serious mental and physical attention was to be given to these patients, at least a lot of love and care in this case-they were being struck with a knife until they bled, and were dragged to the river to take the “Holy Royal Dip” to free them from the spirits. The exorcists were taking clear advantage of the blind faith the villagers had on them, torturing these women mentally and physically. Their wails, cries, scream got drowned in the sound of the bells and drums. The women were being hauled underneath the water, struck with knives and being dragged by holding their hair strands with the hope that they will be free from all sickness. The question thus arises “Who is actually sick? The tormentors or the tormented? “

We are in the era of globalization, in the era where the social media is creating ripples among the human population, yet in the year 2016, we get pictures of such dangerous acts of hypocrisy in the name of religion, in the name of faith. What about the women who are tortured in this manner? Who listens to their cries? Who listens to what they have to say? None. These helpless souls have no one to speak for them. In their eyes I have observed myriad emotions, pleads, screams, fear, shame, revenge and definitely helplessness.
This is my India; this is my country where pairs of helpless eyes are trying to locate a ray of hope, every day!
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Borneo, Kalyan Varma

Few places on the planet evoke such a sense of biological exuberance, unbridled discovery and nature at her most spectacular, as do the rainforests of Borneo.

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Tejal Patni

I graduated from the Sir JJ School of Applied Arts and started out as a still photographer. After all these years, I’m happy to report I’m still one. I’ve shot for Harvey Nichols, Chanel, Levi’s and a whole host of some of the world’s most exciting brands. ( I guess I’ve been lucky.)

I’ve always tried to ‘push things a bit’, give people something they haven’t seen before.

Sometimes I’ve managed to do that. Sometimes I haven’t.

Over the past few years or so, I’ve been pushing myself. I still love stills, but I don’t like being static. Cut to London. I’m in a classroom full of kids studying film making. I graduate from the London Film Academy.

I’m moving. I think there is something deeply fulfilling about the whole idea of Locomotion. I’m not too sure where it’s all headed, but it feels good. To be a journeyman, to be on the road. Especially when the light’s just right.

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Guardar

Divya Agrawal

 

To photograph for me is to connect. To get a glimpse into another’s life, a moment, or a feeling- in the time space continuum- and more importantly, a means to share that bond.

Bred on episodes of Travel in the 90s, and ever since I laid my hands on my Father’s old Yashica as a 14 year old, I have always longed to reach out to discover, and share narratives in this form. Born into a traditional Hindu family with emphasis on a conventional career, if at all for a woman, following the path of a photographer has never been easy.

Originally trained as an Engineer, I quit my job three years back and joined a course in Communication to understand language, imagery and culture. Learning from the course supplemented my photography and powered my desire to pursue a dream of being a visual storyteller. Banking on the kindness of strangers, and many experiments later, the dream travels.

Since then, I have been working on my photographs, which revolve around conflicts, cultures, identity and other documentary work.

Both my visual and written work has appeared in a number of National and International Publications and has been exhibited in India and abroad.

I was also the Winner of the 2013 National Geographic Photography Scholarships and went on Assignment to Greenland. The same year, I was also an invited attendee to the Angkor Photo Workshops at Cambodia.

I am currently working on freelance assignments and personal projects and am based out of Bombay in India.

Kalyan Varma

I am a wildlife photographer, filmmaker, naturalist and explorer dedicated to documenting wildlife and the environmental issues that define our times. I freelance with many of the world’s leading magazines, environmental NGOs and television channels like Nat Geo and BBC.

Over the last decade, I have worked on many landmark blue chip wildlife series for the BBC and National Geographic channel. My work has appeared in many publications worldwide, including National Geographic, Nature, The Guardian, BBC Wildlife, GEO, Smithsonian, Lonely Planet and other magazines.

Along with a team of photographers I founded India Nature Watch, an online community which now has become the largest platform for upcoming wildlife photographers in Asia. I am also the co-founder of Asia’s largest nature photography festival Nature InFocus. Sharing my knowledge of photography, wildlife, and people across various platforms including workshops and seminars is an important part of the work I do.

I collaborate with wildlife scientists, conservationists, policy makers, activists and educators on conservation action, activism, documentation, books and film projects. I actively work with Nature Conservation Foundation and VGKK in India.

I hope to combine an artist’s eye with a journalist’s curiosity and sense of storytelling in my visual style, resulting in a body of work I hope will inspire the viewer to discover more. Using narrative and visual construction I strive to lure the audience into the subject, prompting them to ask questions rather than accept a ‘standard version’ of changing landscapes.

Biswas Debanjan

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Mahesh Balasubramanian

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Mahesh Balasubramanian

Circle-of-Life

My name is Mahesh and I am from Chennai, India based Street Photographer. I started my photography journey in 2008 and took photographs of everything which I felt was beautiful. I shot macro, nature, landscape, etc. but it did not seem to satisfy me much. I then realized my interest was towards people photography and it soon became a passion. Most of my portraits are taken in the streets of India, with available ambient natural light. I strive to portray their inner heart and soul through the expressions in the eyes. I believe that through the subject’s eyes and expression, one can get a feeling of the person’s emotions, state of mind, happiness or sorrow. It is my goal to make portraits which will connect the viewers and the subjects directly.

Danish Siddiqui

A wrestler rubs his hands with mud to prevent slipping due to sweat, during a traditional mud wrestling bout in Kolhapur






 

While I enjoy covering news stories – from business to politics to sports – what I enjoy most is capturing the human face of a breaking story

Sohrab Hura

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Niha Masih

Niha-Masih1

Niha Masih is a documentary photographer based in New Delhi, India. She has edited the photo essay section for The Sunday Guardian. Her exhibited works include a group exhibition on Recovery by PIX and a series of exhibitions at Sarai Media Lab, as part of their ‘City as Studio’ project. She won the Toto Award for Photography for her diptych series, Heart of Darkness, shot in the aftermath of communal violence in the state of Assam. She is the recipient of the India Habitat Centre Fellowship for Photography 2013. She currently works on a ground reportage and investigative news show, Truth vs Hype, which has involved extensive travel across the country, covering a wide range of socio-economic and political stories. Her photographic works focuses on under-reported stories and movements whose histories are often quietly buried.

Poulomi Basu

Imagination is pictures, seeing with your eyes closed just like you see when they are open, you have to do it both ways.
Look outside and notice all you can, and look inside and remember all you can. The really wise man knows how to choose, what to see and what to remember I guess. Winston ‘Solomon’ Odyele

Poulomi Basu is photographer based in New Delhi, India working across Asia.

She majored in Sociology, before completing her Masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication graduating with a Distinction. Her work focuses on under-reported contemporary issues where gender and the formation of identity are often defining characteristics. She is interested in the lives of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstance; in those individuals and groups who quietly challenge the prevailing orthodoxies of the world in which they live.

Poulomi is part of the VII Photo Agency Mentor Program.

Siddharth Setia

Siddharth-Setia

Siddharth Setia is a talented photographer, dream catcher and image maker currently lives and works in Gurgaon, India. Siddharth was born on 4’th May, 1986 in Punjab, India. He was selected by National Geographic India for the Nat Geo Cover Shot 3 Maximum City, India’s only Talent based reality show based on Photography.

Siddharth Setia roaming around with a camera trying to capture everydays life through his lens. An instinctive photographer, known to capture photographs from the daily life and make them everlasting. His play of shapes and colors in the photos he takes emphasize deeply about his passion and love for photography. He comes from the beautiful city of Bathinda, Punjab, India.

His eye for detail is totally self taught and it is his love for the unknown and the need to capture it through the visual medium that made him follow his dreams to become a freelance travel photographer. There are limitations to the use of language, but for Siddharth it is through the photographs that he speaks

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Parivartan Sharma

 

The World’s Children


A street child searches for recyclable material in a garbage dump on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Thursday, Nov. 19, a day ahead of Universal Children’s Day. Twenty years after the U.N. adopted a treaty guaranteeing children’s rights, fewer youngsters are dying and more are going to school, but an estimated 1 billion still lack services essential to their survival and development, UNICEF said. AP / Anupam Nath


A street child displays acrobatic skills with the help of an iron ring during a street show in Katmandu, Nepal. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe


A street child sleeps next to a stray dog, as another looks for fleas in his clothes, in Katmandu, Nepal, AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe


Bangladeshi child laborers work at a balloon workshop in Kamrangir Char, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP / Pavel Rahman


School children chant morning prayers in an open-air government-run school in Jammu, India. AP / Channi Anand

India UN Childrens Rights
Roha, an infant, is left sleeping on the sidewalk of a busy street in Mumbai, India on Wednesday. AP / Rafiq Maqbool


Children wash clothes and bathe at a water pipeline surrounded by sewage in Mumbai, India on Wednesday. AP / Rafiq Maqbool


Dinesh, 8, cuts rose stems outside a flower shop in Gauhati, India on Wednesday . AP / Anupam Nath


Sheela, 6, walks the tightrope during a street performance in Gauhati, India, Wednesday. AP / Anupam Nath


Children play in a rickshaw at a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India on Tuesday. AP / Mahesh Kumar A


Children study in a yard with scrap collected for recycling, in Hyderabad, India.  AP / Mahesh Kumar A


Children from impoverished families attend a class at a government-run school in Gauhati, India. AP / Anupam Nath


Children gather to celebrate children’s rights in Harare. AP


Internally displaced women line up to receive therapeutic food for their children at a food distribution centre run by an organization called CAACID, funded by the UN agencies and European Union, in Mogadishu, Somalia. AFP / Getty Images / Mohamed Dahir

The Frame

Divya Agrawal


To photograph for me is to connect. To get a glimpse into another’s life, a moment, or a feeling- in the time space continuum- and more importantly, a means to share that bond.

Bred on episodes of Travel in the 90s, and ever since I laid my hands on my Father’s old Yashica as a 14 year old, I have always longed to reach out to discover, and share narratives in this form. Born into a traditional Hindu family with emphasis on a conventional career, if at all for a woman, following the path of a photographer has never been easy.

Originally trained as an Engineer, I quit my job three years back and joined a course in Communication to understand language, imagery and culture. Learning from the course supplemented my photography and powered my desire to pursue a dream of being a visual storyteller. Banking on the kindness of strangers, and many experiments later, the dream travels.

Since then, I have been working on my photographs, which revolve around conflicts, cultures, identity and other documentary work.

Both my visual and written work has appeared in a number of National and International Publications and has been exhibited in India and abroad.

I was also the Winner of the 2013 National Geographic Photography Scholarships and went on Assignment to Greenland. The same year, I was also an invited attendee to the Angkor Photo Workshops at Cambodia.

I am currently working on freelance assignments and personal projects and am based out of Bombay in India.