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Of amateur photographers and less-known monuments

Exhibition at Red Fort will showcase less-popular monuments shot by 40 ‘non-professional’ photographers.

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi |
April 17, 2014 1:37:21 am

A photography exhibition displaying less-known monuments in Delhi will be held at the Red Fort this World Heritage Day. The month-long exhibition is set to begin on Friday and will showcase works by 40-odd ‘non-professional’ photographers, including students, doctors, businessmen and lawyers.

The aim, officials said, was to showcase monuments not frequented by the public. “We wanted to draw people’s attention towards sites that are not talked about. How many people know about Jahaz Mahal or Rajaon ki Baoli? Moreover, we wanted to give amateurs an opportunity to showcase their talent,” ASI (Delhi) superintendent archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarankar told Newsline.

Swarankar chanced upon a display of works by members of Delhi Heritage Photography Club (DHPC) — an online community — and was highly impressed by the quality of the pictures.

“Many were pictures taken on mobile phones. But they were extremely appealing. We selected some of them and put them up. We decided to set up the exhibition at the display hall near Naubatkhana. We have selected only lesser known monuments,” he said.

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Monidipa Dey (37), who received the first prize for her picture of the Jahaz Mahal in Mehrauli, used to work with Wipro. She is now a freelance writer.

Photography has been Dey’s hobby since childhood. “My father loved taking pictures and passed on the talent to me. I completed a one-year diploma in photography, quit my job and switched to freelance writing and photography in 2005,” Dey said.

First runner-up Himanshi Rastogi (35) is a hospitality professional. Rastogi starting shooting four years ago, starting with a point-and-shoot camera and eventually graduating to a professional camera. He photographed the tomb of Feroz Shah Kotla for this event.

“This is an attempt to bring focus on ‘forgotten heritage’. Like Humayun’s Tomb, other smaller monuments also need to be restored. There are so many heritage sites in the heart of Delhi with easy access but people are not aware of them,” Rastogi said.

Second runner-up and a former lawyer, Parth Thakkar (26), opted for full-time photography a year ago. Three of his pictures were selected for display, with one of them, on Athpullah bridge in Lodhi Garden, winning the third prize. Thakkar is a self-taught photographer — he tutored himself by reading books on the subject.

The photography club, Thakkar believes, has helped him refine his art. “After every exhibition, professional photographers review our work and suggest ways of improving,” he said.

Vikramjit, who started DHPC a few years ago as a Facebook page, has expanded it into a much larger community with various exercises. There are monthly “darbars” with heritage experts, authors and university professors on how to look at heritage and read its undertones.

“We also have fortnightly photography walks where we select a monument, talk about its history and take pictures,” Vikramjit said.

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