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.