CHANDIGARH IS a photographer’s paradise. Thus, the city’s photography clubs and societies, formed by professional photographers and those passionate about the art form, provide a platform to both established and budding photo enthusiasts through photo exhibitions. Open to the public, the exhibitions are a space for creative dialogues, exchange of ideas and discussions on the new developments in the fast-changing field. Fresh and enriching perspectives and experiences are curated at these photography workshops, which are offered for free of cost to those who want to pursue the field as a profession or hobby.
At a recent exhibition by the Tricity Photo Art Society (TPAS), which has been promoting the art through interesting initiatives over the years, four workshops were conducted on different aspects of photography. According to Sarabjit Pandher, the sessions were a hit, with more than 75 people attending each session.
Deep Bhatia, president of the society and a professional photographer, spoke on still life photography and its dimensions, while Neetu Katyal, a photographer and homemaker, spoke in details about conceptual portraiture, focusing on its practical aspects. Another photographer, Dr Arun Khanna, who works as a general manager with Indian Oil conducted an absorbing session on aerial landscape, with Sarabjit Pandher divulging into what it entails to be a landscape photographer. TPAS also runs diploma classes, where seniors teach newcomers, with the society organising photo walks for on-site practical workshops, that are free and open to all. Bhatia’s target is to get 200 AFIP distinctions in Chandigarh, which grants ‘Artist’ level from the Federation of Indian photography. Six members of the society, including Pandher, got AFIP distinctions this year.
Navneet Saxena, founder member of the Photography Society of Chandigarh, has been teaching photography for over 25 years now, focusing on students who are keen to learn the art and encouraging them to find new stories through their pictures. While the society holds regular workshops for its members, general public and students, Saxena shares his vast experience and work through talks in colleges, schools and corporates. “For those who are new to photography, the emphasis is first on the basics, techniques, use of camera, balance of light, composition and why one picture is better than the other. We have slide shows, demonstrations and lectures. The workshops are free and open to all. The larger idea is to inspire others to look at the world with new eyes, through the lenses and experience complete joy,” says Saxena.
Photographer and filmmaker Randeep Maddoke, who is the coordinator of the online portal The Chandigarh School of Photography, describes his works with students, through workshops, lectures and outdoor assignments, as an endeavour to discuss the value of serious imagery. While continuing to work on his understanding of visual expression along with his students, he emphasises on visual literacy and on creating awareness about visual language, history of the art form, opportunities in the field and change in technology.
”Starting with the basics, we move forward, sifting the visual pollution and looking at each image with a more reflective eye,” says Maddoke.