South Asian Photo Festivals – An Important Conversation at Chobi Mela

We at PondyPHOTO feel that the panel discussion, Overlaps and Confluences: South Asian Photography,  held this week at the 9th edition of Chobi Mela going on now in Dhaka, Bangladesh looks at issues of immense relevance to all South Asian Photo Festivals.

The discussion and comments of Prashant Panjiar (Co-Founder Delhi Photo),  NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati (Co-Founder of PhotoKathmandu), Shahidul Alam (Director Chobi Mela) and Moderator.  Tanzim Wahab of the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute bring to light the challenges faced by the growing list of festival founders and directors across the region in terms of sustainability, identity and curation.

This is an hour well spent for those who wish to understand what festival organisers must consider when pulling their event together the first time, and all the times after.  The honesty of the panel participants in sharing  the challenges faced as they work to establish and then continue their festivals bringing quality photography events to the region shows the dedication they offer to the media itself, its professionals as well as amateur artists, and their personal commitment to making the art of photography accessible to the greater public as a whole.  This discussion offers an inside look at what they do, how they do it and why they do it.

Photo festivals in South Asia are growing in number, but also in terms of international standing thanks to the outstanding efforts of these three festival administrators along with their teams.  PondyPHOTO pays tribute to their work and thanks Chobi Mela for offering the space for a discussion of this kind  reinforcing the potential of a growing  narrative of collaboration between both established and emerging photography festivals in the region.

Marcus Bleasdale reacts to PondyPHOTO 2016

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Wow, It worked! The curation was incredible, bold and decisive. The images looked amazing and the exhibition transformed the town. It was an incredibly original festival and I hope to be involved again. 

Marcus Bleasdale

Exhibiting Photographer in PondyPHOTO 2016

Marcus Bleasdale has been involved in advocacy and human rights for over fifteen years. In his role as a documentary photographer for National Geographic Magazine he has educated and advised corporations and policy makers around the world.

His work on human rights and conflict has been shown at the US Senate, The US House of Representatives, The United Nations and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. He has been advisor for several philanthropic groups in Central and East Africa, Asia and South America on high impact social investing. Some of his photographic and film work covering these issues can be seen on

Marcus’ work also appears in the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Sunday Times Magazine, The Telegraph Magazine, Stern, Le Monde, TIME Magazine, Newsweek and National Geographic Magazine.

Exhibitions include “The Rape of a Nation” The Federal Building NYC (2006), The Central Library, Chicago (2006), The Holocaust Museum LA (2006), Visa Pour L’Image (2007), Nobel Peace Centre Oslo (2007), Ministry of Foreign Affairs France (2008), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2009), US Senate (2009), UN (2009), The Houses of Parliament UK (2010). US House of Representatives (2011). Fotografiska, Sweden (2013). Lincoln Centre (2014)Lincoln Centre (2015) Visa Pour l’Image (2015)

He has published three books “One Hundred Years of Darkness” 2002 and “The Rape of a Nation” 2009, “The Unravelling” 2015.

Marcus has been awarded The UNICEF Photographer of the Year Award (2004), The OPC Olivier Rebbot Award for Best Foreign Reporting (2005), Magazine Photographer of the Year award POYi (2005), The Alexia Foundation Award for World Peace (2005), The World Press Awards (2006), The Freedom of Expression Foundation Norway (2007), Days Japan (2009), The Anthropographia Award for Photography and Human Rights (2010), The Hansel Meith Award (2010) and the Photo Book of the Year Award POYi (2010), Freedom of Expression Foundation Norway (2011). Webby Award (2011) News and Politics “Dear Obama”. The Hood Medal for Services to Photography from Royal Photographic Society (2012). In 2012 Marcus film for MSF was nominated for an Emmy. He won an award in World Press Photo (2014) and the prestigious Robert Capa Award (2015).

Get INVOLVED with PondyPHOTO 2016

PondyART is looking for volunteers to help with running PondyPHOTO 2016.  Do you want to be part of this incredible festival?  All kinds of help is needed to make sure things work just right over the 16 days and we would LOVE to have you on our team!


Requirements:  A big smile, positive energy, 2 hands and a bit of time!

If you would like to get involved, please email us at right away!  There is a lot to do!  The opening is just 10 days away!!!