CHENNAI: For days and months, popular photographer Iqbal Mohamed kept seeing images of people lining up for water, pictures of dry ponds, dirt-filled lakes and people grappling with the water crisis, on news channels and social media. But he wanted to look at water from a positive angle and take it to larger audiences.
Iqbal Mohamed, the founder of Ooty-based photography institute Light & Life Academy, believes that this visual medium can inspire individuals to empathise and act on social causes. Iqbal and LLA have initiated Shoot For A Cause movement that seeks to harness the power of images for a positive social impact. The movement will be launched with An Ode To Water, a social media contest culminating in a photo exhibition ahead of World Photography Day.
“There’s no denying that recent visuals of long queues for water tankers, parched lake beds, and other disturbing sights have awakened the public conscience to the necessity for water conservation. At Light & Life Academy, appreciation for the beauty of the many forms of water is seen as a meaningful step towards civic responsibility and sustainable living,” said Iqbal.
An Ode To Water also invites entries through Instagram, which cherish the element of water and draw awareness to its sheer beauty and importance. To participate, contestants must follow LLA (@lightandlifeacademy), and upload their entries using the hashtags #LLA2019, #worldphotographydaywithLLA and #anodetowater. The contest is open to anybody residing in India and the deadline is August 15. The most outstanding and popular submissions will be displayed at a public exhibition. Proceeds from the event will support the NGO Environmentalist Foundation, which focuses on wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.
“We have received 700 entries as of now. People are finding a different perspective to appreciate the beauty and importance of water. The photos must celebrate water. I look at how the photographer has used light, colour and composition to capture the image strikingly. Finally, I will analyse how much effort went into making this picture in the natural environment. We plan to exhibit 50– 60 pictures,” said Iqbal.
The exhibition will feature a mix of images including a group of fishermen throw open their nets for a fresh catch in a river; a man sitting with his foot dipped inside a water body while offering his daily prayers to the river, and a group of women waiting for tanker lorry under the scorching sun.
“Photography is a universal language. I’m looking at how we can use this medium to bring about a positive change in society. This topic is the need of the hour in Chennai considering the water crisis. Instead of looking at it as a hopeless situation, I want people to celebrate and respect water in the future.”
The exhibition will be held from August 16 to 19 at Express Avenue Mall.