Kolkata-based Ayanava Sil won the first prize in the sports category for his photograph, The Decisive Moment, by Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest (ASIPPC). The image, exhibited in Delhi, features a group of young water polo players practising their skills in the Ganga in Kolkata.
“Ideally, water polo should be practised in a closed environment with designated pool for the players but seeing them in Ganga had me make this photo,” says Sil, 27, who is also working on a different project which brings to light other unheard of sports in India.
There are many stories just like The Decisive Moment by photojournalists around the world. The ASIPPC selected and displayed these photographs at an ongoing exhibition in the capital city. The aim of the contest was to support young photographers and drawing public attention to the tasks of modern photojournalism. Rossiya Segodnya news agency organised the contest was organised by the under the patronage of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.
The display has images by three other Indian photographers. Debarchan Chatterjee has earned an Honourable Mention from the competition jury in the Top News category. His photo focused on protests. Amit Moulick has contributed in the sports category. And Santanu Dey has displayed his documentary project on a range of professions on a verge of extinction in Kolkata.
In Dey’s photographs, we are introduced to a nostalgic past. Like a street singer, who used to be known as the Gaanewaala. He says, “They wear such colourful dresses, walk around with harmonium, and mainly sing around some countryside, which is just amazing. But today, we have no time to hear their songs so they are on the verge of extinction.”
Featured in his photographs is also a Cinema-waala or Bioscope man, who carried portable tin boxes from which we could view short clippings via a keyhole. “The box has a gramophone recorder on its top and inside the box were slides of characters and acts in reels, and played manually… extremely exciting to both kids and adults,” adding, “They carried these boxes on their heads and roamed in the streets of Kolkata, ringing a bell to seek the attention. Though in the world of multiplexes and 3D shows, this has lost its charm and demand, and there is only one single person in the city now, the last Bioscopewaala or Cinemawaala.”
The exhibition also showcases images by some of the world’s best young photographers like Russia, South Africa, Italy, the US, France and others. According to curator Oksana Oleinik, “We’re pleased that New Delhi is hosting the exhibition by winners for the second time. India is one of the top five countries by the number of submissions for the contest, and I hope that professionals’ interest in our project will grow.”
Till: December 5
At: All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society