Travel Photo Jaipur shines intimate spotlights on unique corners around the world. 

The first edition of the international outdoor photography festival runs in Jaipur, Rajasthan from 5 to 14 February 2016.

Xiaoxiao Xu, 'She Huo', 2014. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

Xiaoxiao Xu, ‘She Huo’, 2014. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

The journey of photography

Travel Photo Jaipur doesn’t celebrate travel photography per se. The inaugural festival unites the art of photography with that of travel, presenting a “curated selection of international photography inspired by the notion of journeys and visions as an outsider”. The festival website quotes American writer and filmmaker Susan Sontag:

If, as Susan Sontag said, “the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality”, Travel Photo Jaipur is a call to discover the world through the eyes of that super-tourist: the photographer.

The festival boasts a unique selection of works by eminent international photographers hailing from China, India, Africa and Uzbekistan, as well as from Europe and beyond. Taking the notion of journey as a point of departure, their art presents distinctive perspectives of culture, history and identity, presenting whimsical and evocative studies of humanity.

Gideon Mendel, 'Drowning World', 2007-ongoing. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

Gideon Mendel, ‘Drowning World’, 2007-ongoing. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

Marrying art and heritage 

Travel Photo Jaipur is a government-supported initiative that aims to boost Rajasthan’s cultural tourism and status as a destination for art. Its upcoming launch edition comprises 14 exhibitions displayed at open-air landmarks, including the Hawa Mahal, the Albert Hall Museum and the Hawa Mahal, inviting a fresh perspective regarding the city’s deep heritage.

Apart from the exhibition itself, the festival includes a series of talks and screenings, with Thomas Seelig, Co-curator of Switzerland’s Winthertur Photomuseum, and Mauro Bedoni, former photo editor of COLORS magazine, as confirmed panellists, amongst others.

The fair will also feature two special interventions: a travelling photo studio by set designer and photographer Aradhana Seth, and the conversion of former Jaipur Art School into a temporary exhibition space by photographer Akshay Mahajan.​

Laurent Chehere, 'The Flying Houses', 2007-ongoing. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

Laurent Chehere, ‘The Flying Houses’, 2007-ongoing. Image courtesy Travel Photo Jaipur.

Reversing the gaze

With its renowned literature festival drawing in thousands annually, Jaipur is an up-and-coming destination for the arts. According to the press release, while many states focus on traditional crafts and heritage, Rajasthan is investing in contemporary culture as well. The press release quotes Nikhil Padgaonkar, Producer of the festival, as saying:

With time, the photography festival could have the same appeal for lovers of photography across the globe as the Jaipur Literature Festival […]. The potential is enormous […] the city of Jaipur has so many sites that could be transformed into remarkable venues for photographic display.

The works will be displayed in large-scale format in prominent public places, transforming the Pink City into a dedicated site for contemplating photography. Lola Mac Dougall, Artistic Director of the fair, comments:

The residents of Jaipur, who live in one of the most visited and celebrated Indian cities, are used to being photographed. With Travel Photo Jaipur, the gaze is now reversed, and it is their turn to observe the photographic wonders of the world.

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: Indian artists, Chinese artists, African artists, Uzbekistani artists, photography, fairs, festivals, events in India

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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