What To Catch During The FOCUS Photography Festival

March 12, 2013 8:08 am by
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The two-week FOCUS photography festival kicks off this Wednesday, March 13 with two weeks of free exhibitions (22 of them!), workshops and talks across two dozens venues including cafes, boutiques and galleries. What to catch and when? Herewith, some of our recommendations of must-see shows:

A Fantastic Legacy: Early Bombay Photography, From 1840 to 1900
Old photographs of Bombay are reproduced everywhere these days, from postcards to jholas. However, this show, curated by Mumbai Art Room owner Susan Hapgood, is significant for one main reason: all the works displayed here – and there are over 100 – are original prints. Among the bounty, much of it loaned by Phillips Antiques owner Farooq Issa and the Alkazi Foundation For The Arts, are some of the earliest photographs of our city shot by members of the Photographic Society of Bombay (there’s one of a fantastically barren Colaba Causeway); portraits of Indians shot by the British for ethnographic study; and a walk-in camera obscura that will make you appreciate the handiness of your trusty point-and-shoot.
Where: Galerie Max Mueller, Max Mueller Bhavan, K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda.
When: Thursday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 27. Daily, from 10am to 7pm.

A Photograph Is Not An Opinion – Contemporary Photography By Women
Just post Women’s Day, emerging and mid-career names like Gauri Gill, Karen Knorr, Nandini Muthiah, Chino Otsuka, Anusha Yadav and more than a dozen others from various parts of the world display their works from the prism of being female in this moment in our history. According to curator Sunil Gupta, you can expect to see a few major themes emerge – the city and the environment, the family album, loss of some kind, and gender and sexuality.
Where: Terrace Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, 161 M. G. Road, Kala Ghoda.
When: Thursday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 27. Daily, from 11am to 7pm.

Matter Show
Fashion lensman Bharat Sikka says this show “is a visual record of the many things that come my way”. That would partly explain the randomness of the photographs on display. There are ghostly-lit shots of a town at night, a foggy derelict playground, junk of all kinds, a single cigarette, pigeons, empty bottles and pristine snow-capped mountains, all filtered through moody hues of black and grey. You can see many of the images on Mattershow.com, but Mehboob Studios’s grimy interiors will likely provide an added layer of melancholy. Organised in association with Nature Morte.
Where: Mehboob Studios, 100 Hill Road, Bandra (West)
When: Wednesday, March 20, from 5pm to 10pm.

A Village In Bengal
Photojournalist Chirodeep Chaudhuri spent 12 years photographing the Durga puja festival in his ancestral village in Bengal, one of the only times when his vast family would congregate every year at his family house. The project, which started as an informal exercise on a holiday in 1996, eventually spun into a documentation of the rites and rituals of this village during festival time, resulting in A Village In Bengal, a photo book that was released last year. The exhibition pulls together 22 of those images that capture Chaudhuri’s “affection for the place”.
Where: Project 88, BMP Building, Ground Floor, N. A. Sawant Marg, near Colaba Fire Station, Colaba. Tel: 022 2281 0066/99.
When: Thursday, March 14 to Tuesday, March 26. Tuesday to Saturday, from 11am to 7pm; Sunday and Monday, closed.

Acclaimed Canadian photographer Raymonde April will show three groups of pictures – taken in Quebec, Beijing and Mumbai – in the picturesque Horniman Circle. April, interested in the “after-life” of images, has been cited with influencing “the development of photography in Québec and Canada”.
Where: Horniman Circle.
When: Wednesday, March 13 to Wednesday, March 27.

Works from Noida Soliloquy & Sleepers (2007-2012)
Dhruv Malhotra, a self-described “night photographer”, captures the ghostly environs of Noida and the country’s sleeping masses in near-painterly stillness in these two bodies of work, where long exposure times render his landscapes with a surreal, saturated precision. The show is part of Chatterjee & Lal’s gallery exchange with the Delhi-based Photoink.
Where: Chatterjee & Lal, 1/18, Kamal Mansion, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba. Tel: 022 2202 3787.
When: Thursday, March 21 to Thursday, April 18. Tuesday to Saturday, from 11am to 7pm; Sunday and Monday, closed.

The Inhabited Space
New York-based Sean Rocha shows the “tranquility” of cities in a series of photographs that capture small and isolated moments in big urban lives (a neon-lit sign, or a vacant apartment for instance). A second element of the show, more evocative of the rhythm and bustle of big city life, depicts a time lapse dawn-to-dusk slideshow of streets in cities such as New York, Beirut, Fes, Oslo and Madrid.
Where: Hermès, 15A Horniman Circle, near the Asiatic Society Library, Fort. Tel: 022 2263 0093.
When: Thursday, March 14 to Wednesday, March 27. Daily, from 10.30am to 7.30pm.

Lost Highway
Another nighttime-set series of photographs, where French photographer Chantal Stoman shows pics taken from flyovers in cities such as Sao Paulo, Cairo, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Kolkata, offering a fluorescent peek into the lives of those who live by highways.
Where: Studio X, Kitab Mahal, Fourth Floor, 192 D. N. Road, Fort.
When: Tuesday, March 12 to Monday, March 18. Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm; Sunday, closed.

Pinhole Camera Workshop
This one’s an introductory lesson for adults and kids (aged 8 to 12 years), where you’ll learn the basics of photography, including how to snap a pic with a pinhole camera. The workshop, organised by Mumbai Art Room, is limited to 20 participants; spots will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.
Where: Galerie Max Mueller, Max Mueller Bhavan, K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda.
When: Saturday, March 16, from 2pm to 4pm (conducted in English); and from 5pm to 7pm (conducted in Hindi).

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens
Made by her sister Barbara Leibovitz in 2007, this documentary reverentially tracks the upward swing of famed American photographer Annie Leibovitz, right from her career-defining cover shot of John Lennon and Yoko Ono for Rolling Stone magazine in 1980 and ending well before her financial troubles of recent years.
Where: CMYK Bookstore, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 2495 1954. RSVP mandatory; email cmyk_goodearth@rolibooks.com to reserve a seat.
When: Wednesday, March 20 at 6.30pm.