Imphal, Nov 12:
A 2-day Masterclass on Social Photography facilitated by Padma Shri and renowned Mumbai-based photojournalist, Sudharak Olwe began today in Imphal under the themed on ‘Authentic narratives driven by empathy and an archive of images that represent an India that is often hidden away’. The first ever photography is organized by Win Foundation Manipur in association with Photography Promotion Trust, Mumbai and Photo South Asia, USA.
Sunzu Bachaspatimayum, Managing Trustee of Win Foundation, Manipur introduced Masterclass with a brief objective of his Trust and said it is founded by Media professionals who wanted to empower the marginalized, especially the youth by skilling them in media tools. He also said that the Win Foundation also identifies deserving students and provides them scholarships for their careers.
Manipur’s famed photo-artist and journalist, RatanLuwang, opened the class with an introduction to the status of photography in Manipur and its growth over the years. He said that local photographers need to stay updated with the changing photo technology and be aware of how to present a story. He welcomed Sudharak Olwe who he met in Bangladesh in an international photo exhibition and appreciated his photo presentation style and his perseverance to get to the essence of his story. “It’s the first Masterclass in Social photography held in Manipur. There is a need to understand the importance of storytelling through images. We struggled a lot in the initial days as we were unaware of how to present a powerful story that evokes emotions and human aspect through images. But today visual storytelling has gained a lot of currency and it is crucial for all of us to understand these nuances. This is a much-needed Masterclass,” Luwang said.
Olwe has traversed the length and breadth of the country over the years and documented the lives of the people who hail from marginalized backgrounds. He was conferred the Padma Shri, India’s 4th Highest Civilian Award by the President of India in 2016. Through this masterclass, he apprised the participants of his journey into the field of photography and also his process of visual documentation on social issues.
Be it his rare projects on Manipur like Meira Paibies – grandmothers of Manipur from Ima Market or The Refugee – photos of children from refugee camps, or the project of maternal and child malnutrition in tribal areas, the project of documenting the lives of the women in the sex trade in Kamathipura – the red-light area of Mumbai, Maharashtra, the participants were familiarized on the nuances of throwing light on the human aspect through visual storytelling when it comes to social issues.
The Masterclass saw participants, comprising professional photographers, amateurs and university students enthusiastic to learn about photography and visual storytelling, engaged in discussions on the art and process of storytelling, consent in photography and so on. The participants also got a chance to share their own pictures, and their photo-stories and received feedback from Olwe and Luwang.
Leishemba, a student from DM University, Imphal and a resident of Canchipur, shared how he has been making photos of his friends and anything that caught his interest with no technical knowledge of photography. “I don’t own a camera. I made these photographs using my friend’s camera. I teach myself through regular practice. Initially, I used to make photos without keeping a story in mind. This workshop has helped me understand how storytelling is important and will keep that in mind while making photographs henceforth,” Leishemba said.
For the second day, the participants were asked to shoot a batch photo to tell untold stories and bring them for critical analysis and inputs.
The Masterclass is being conducted at Preview Theatre, MFSDS, Palace Gate, Imphal East from 11 to 12 Nov 2022 between 11 am and 3.30 pm. The participants will be handed out certificates upon successful completion of the Masterclass.
Manipur’s first ever Masterclass on Social Photography kicks off