People who know me, knows that I easily fall in love with any initiative that promotes Kolkata or Bengal. One such is CamEra.
I am not a part of this, but few of my friends are. Of late, I came to know about the initiative properly and now, I am blogging about it.
The one who started this – Amitava Bhattacharya wanted to popularise our culture and promote photography. However, he had no fixed aim while starting this. This became a blessing as this entire initiative is evolving with time, as all the associates are developing with the experience.
What started with “Our city, our angle” now focusses on Bengal and its Heritage, in its phase 2. Not that I complain. It started with 357 photographers photographing the city of Joy – Kolkata’s heritage and lifestyle. About 100 photographers exhibited their work. The photographs were exhibited openly on the streets, 20 different locations in Kolkata. Around 72000 footfalls were registered, feedback from over 3500 people and feedback from the judges shortlisted 30 photographers who are now exhibiting their work in 6 different galleries in Kolkata. Right now, the exhibition at Baitanik is on.
Phew, a lot of information given. Now why am I blogging about it?
First, this is a pro-Kolkata and pro-Bengal initiative. I believe I should, by all my means support it.
I liked the way Amitava da displayed the photographs on the streets. This will help to bridge the gap between art forms and the general mass of the city. This has brought smiles to many, as Amitava da told, a rickshaw puller saw another photograph of a rickshaw puller and could easily connect to it. As a photographer, I can say it is always encouraging when your work is visible to a large number of people.
The entire set of photographers were broken down to groups, each headed by a mentor. This is a novel idea. Kudos, to this thought. When I visited the exhibition at Baitanik (4 Elgin Road, Kolkata) I found many photographers who are 1-3 year experienced. It is a great learning opportunity for them to interact with their peers, few seniors and the mentor. It is an incredible platform created.
The photograph exhibition is coupled with music performances from different parts of the state. The overall ambience thus created, I love.
There is another connection to it. Of the 8 photographers exhibiting their work in Baitanik, I knew 3 people… Arka Dutta , Saimantick Bhadra and Miyanka Paul. Arka Dutta is one of my mentors, one of the first persons I met in Kolkata Weekend Shoots and he still continues to mentor me. Saimantick Bhadra is a brother from a different mother. Miyanka is an acquaintance from KWS. It’s incredible to see Saimantick brushing shoulders with Arka Dutta.
I started discovering Bengal (travelling that is) while in college. I did not even have a camera that time. Later when I joined Sounak Chattopadhyay to learn Indian classical music, I came to know about how Bengal has contributed to it. While learning Rabindrasangeet, I also came to know about the different kinds of Bengali music that had often influenced Tagore in his composition. To see someone doing the same, and bringing in the youth is exhilarating. Kudos to the entire initiative. I find Saimantick finding interest in Bengal. What more can I ask for?
Upcoming is Amitava da’s “Pot Maya 2013”. It is a Poto-Chitro (Handicraft) fair in Pingla, West Midnapur. It shall be coupled with workshops, Baul music, Jhumur dance, Ramlila, Chau dance and perhaps more. CamEra received a good media response, and Pot-Maya too shall be covered by DD National, as I am informed. I want more of the locals, people from Kolkata, MORE of my friends to join this.
Please see: The exhibition at Baitanik is still on. Please drop in, if you find time. The address is “Shrimati Art Gallery, Baitanik, 4 Elgin Road Kolkata”.