‘Intent key while taking a photo’

Photographic presentation is very often the tool of the oppressed, P. Sainath, rural affairs expert, People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), said here on Sunday.

While speaking at the ‘International Photography Conference’ held as part of Chennai Photo Biennale organised by Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation, Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan and The Hindu, he said the intent in taking a photograph was as important as the content because it was going to drive and inform the content.

Rural collapse

“Sixty nine percent of India’s population live in rural India but the average national daily of this country gives 0.67% of its front page to rural India. There is a world wide retreat of the rural or collapse of the rural and nowhere spectacularly so than in India. Between 1991 and 2011 census, 15 million farmers dropped out of the act of cultivation,” he said.

He noted that in the last 50 years, 225 languages had died and as these languages died, along with them, their art, craft, culture and history too died.

He spoke about how a person’s background plays a significant role in how a photograph gets captured. “The picture is in your head and heart and it is in your mind and ideology. Where you come from socially and culturally will more often than not guide the direction in which your lens is pointed,” he said.

Several photographs taken by Mr. Sainath are on display at The Government College of Fine Arts at Egmore.

The photographs taken in various States, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, present a picture of women in rural India, their chores, numerous struggles everyday and what they do to make a living.

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