Photography’s New Lens at Serendipity Arts Festival

Photography’s New Lens at Serendipity Arts Festival

In an image-saturated world, what does it really mean to be a photographer? And what is the difference between the image that one sees in an exhibition, and the one that circulates on social media?

The nebulous debate comes at a point when photography finds itself at one of the most interesting crossroads in its history — the medium is at its popular best yet the blitzkrieg of images confuses the observer about what exactly is happening with the medium.

Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, December 15-22, could be the answer to some of these questions. The Photography section will explore the current issues in the medium through a curated set of events. In particular, “Intimate Documents” showcases seven “deeply engaged contemporary photography practices in South Asia, which examine the renewed visual language of the photograph,” according to the concept note of the show curator Ravi Agarwal.

“Through this exhibition, we try to examine new/young practices from South Asia on what the photograph does as a document today. Photography has always been about documenting — while its role in documenting reality remains the same, what it is documenting has changed. Besides the evolution of its tools and technology, a greater evolution has taken place in what constitutes home, relationships, ‘me,’ our sense of identity... The whole idea of truth has undergone a change. Photography today is responding to that fuzziness,” says Agarwal.

Ravi Agarwal, a well-known photographer and an environmentalist, is excited about the debate because he says there has been a great shift in the ‘version of reality’ since his times. “The camera continues to capture reality but the version of reality has changed. In my times, the lens was largely trained outside but today, it’s turning inside a lot,” he says.

He adds that some of the work taking place today is consistent and strong, and the multiple visualities that are being documented are re-carving the idea of photography. He cites the examples of photography experiments carried out in the past several decades in the US, by photographers such as Nan Goldin, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, to name some. 

At the Serendipity festival, Agarwal curates a show titled “The Urban Re-imagined,” which explores the idea of ‘urban.’ It features works by Pooja Iranna and Gigi Scaria.

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Founder: Louise Blouin  


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