Thursday, January 02, 2014

Adarsh Inquiry Commission full report

Adarsh Inquiry Commission headed by Justice J A Patil was appointed by the Maharashtra government on January 8, 2011. It was given 13 terms of references to probe. The terms of reference no 1 was about whether the land on which the 31-storey highrise was built belonged to the Maharashtra government or to the Defence Ministry. 

The terms of reference no 2 was about whether it was reserved for housing any defence personnel or martyrs of Kargil War. On April 13, 2012, the Commission submitted its interim report on these two points to the government, stating that the land belonged to the state government, and it was not reserved for Kargil War widows. The commission submitted the full report this year, but the government did not table the report it during the budget session or the monsoon session of the state legislature. On December 20, the state tabled the report during the winter session state legislature after the Bombay High Court cornered it to make a commitment.

The exhaustive 700-page report makes for stunning reading about a building which was originally supposed to be a six-storey structure went on to become a 31-storey highrise as its files moved in Mantralaya from one minister to the other, and one bureaucrat to the other. As the files moved, new floors and flats were added to the building.

I think Indian should read it to understand how a scam was perpetrated. After initially rejecting the commission findings, the Maharashtra government rolled back its decision after a public prod by Rahul Gandhi. The million-dollar question is when will those indicted by the report actually face any punishment.

You could read the full report here:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wanted: Critical Writing on Photography


October 11 2013, Mumbai

Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan
Niyatee Shinde
Niyatee Shinde is an Independent curator, photo-historian and writer on art and photography. In 1978 she graduated with a BA from University of Mumbai and later in 1986 did a Diploma in Copy-writing at Advertising Agencies Association of India. In 2003 she was Research Fellow, NMAH, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; research subject: Interdisciplinary access to photographic collections within the Smithsonian units and museums. From 1995 to 2006 she was Director & Curator, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Mumbai where she curated many exhibitions with Indian and International artists, conceptualized and conducted varied workshops on Indian folk and traditional crafts by Master craftspeople. She was one of the founder-editors of the Times Journal of Photography, TOI, Mumbai and was invited as nominator for the Leopold Godowsky Jr. Photography Awards 1997 and the Hasselblad Photographer Award for 2000 and 2006. She was also invited to judge several national photography exhibitions. In 1993 she conceptualized, researched and compiled ` The Legacy of Raja Deen Dayal’, a major exhibition of photographs by Raja Deen Dayal, for Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. Also compiled and contributed text to the dossier on Raja Deen Dayal, presented by Air India on their 60th anniversary. As writer on art and photography critic and reviewer she contributed to the Times of India and later wrote several critical features on art and photography for the Indian Express. She continues to contribute essays and reviews on photography for national and International publications. Amongst many recognitions and honours she was awarded the Paul Getty grant in 2004 and the 1994 Goethe-Institut Scholarship for photography research.
She will speak about her experience in writing on photography for Times Journal of Photography and her writing on various photography curatorial projects.
Abhijeet Tahmane
Abhijeet Tamhane is an art critic based in Mumbai who has been writing critical weekly art reviews for the last decade or so. Apart from his regular weekly review essays, he has been writting smaller reviews and general interest articles on art, on a weekly basis for the last four years. Abhijeet has aslo written several catalogues in English, interviewed prominent artists and delivered several lectures on art. At present, he is working with Lok Satta.
He will speak about his experience in writing on art, both in English and Marathi.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

World Press debate and other stories

Thanks to Twitter on which I can track many things at the same time, I was clued into the results of the World Press Photo, which each year brings together an amazing body of work on its platforms, and is judged by some of the world's greatest photojournalists. Photo-shopping has always been a deeply debated issue, and this year's WPP winning image of Paul Hansen brought alive the debate again. It is also a difficult issue to deal with. On my computer, the image from the WPP winner's gallery seemed quite darker, but on my photographer colleague's computer the image appeared much brighter. Photoshelter blog has posted both the images. What do you think? I also like the original brighter image and don't see the need to photoshop it further. It has enough and soft light, is superbly composed, and captures the entire tragedy perfectly. I would really like to know what Paul Hansen has to say about this?

                                             Copyright: Paul Hansen/ World Press Photo

Another debate is also on about Paolo Pellegrin's images of a former Marine sniper which won him the Freelance Photographer of the Year award at the equally prestigious POYi. NYT photography blog put the controversy in perspective.


I discovered Guernica magazine quite late, and everytime that I got to their website, it has some really thought provoking reading material. Sinnamon Love deals with the question if while doing pornography, she was being a feminist.

I also found an article by Prashant Reddy in Open magazine on the extent of foreign funding in Indian NGOs, and it is quite mind-boggling. Do read.

The British Film Institute is doing a retrospective of documentary film-maker Anand Patwardhan's brilliant body of work. An interview with ever eloquent Anand Patwardhan

                                                A poster of Anand Patwardhan's controversial Raam Ke Naam

Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Photo essay on India's women soldiers

I came across Poulomi Basu's very interesting photo story on India's women soldiers in Tehelka magazine. In 2009, India's Border Security Force began training women soldiers to be deployed on its border with Pakistan. Poulomi captured their life at the training camp. The series of photographs were part of Tehelka's latest issue on One Billion Rising. The pictures are worth taking a look at Poulomi's website.

NYT's photo blog featured Poulomi's work last year.

Do read.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nick Ut on Napalm Girl picture

Just spotted this on Leica Camera blog. Vietnamese photojournalist Nick Ut on how he survived and shot the picture of the Napalm attack in Vietnam and the picture went on to become the face of the Vietnam war. Ut won the Pulitzer for his work. His interview 

Kim Phuc, the little girl in the photograph howling in agony as napalm burns her back, defected to Canada, and has now set up the Kim Foundation International 

happy reading!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mumbai photojournalist wins MFI YES BANK National Press Contest grand prize

                                          Mandar Deodhar's Picture of the Year image

Winners of MFI-YES BANK National Press Photo Contest 2012 Declared

Mumbai, August 21, 2012: Media Foundation of India (MFI) in association with YES BANK, India’s fourth largest private sector bank, today announced the winners of the MFI-YES BANK National Press Photo Contest – 2012.

Mumbai-based photojournalist Mandar Deodhar of India Today news magazine was adjudged the winner of the “Picture of the Year” award for his photograph of a lone shopkeeper battling a massive fire at Sara-Sahara and Manish market shopping malls in South Mumbai. The picture was unanimously chosen by an eminent jury that comprised of award-winning international photojournalists Pablo Bartholomew, Kevin Frayer and Arko Datta.

The contest received over 6500 photographs submissions, sent by more than 200 photographers for the six categories under contention. Mandar Deodhar will be awarded the grand prize of Rs 75,000 at an awards ceremony scheduled in October. Additionally, three cash prizes worth Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 will be awarded to category winners in each of the six categories.

“I am extremely happy to have won the grand prize. I was not expecting it at all as the MFI contest is a national contest and some of the best photographs from Kashmir and other places compete for the top prize,” said 40-year-old Deodhar in his first reaction.

“I was on the terrace of a building when I noticed that some firemen were reluctant to climb on top of a metal roof because it was hot and a bit dangerous. But, an ordinary shopkeeper snatched the water pipe from them, climbed on that roof and started bravely battling the fire. I found that interesting,” said Deodhar, who has done stints with publications like Lokmat, Bombay Times, and Mid-Day before joining India Today in 2007.

“This photograph of a single man fighting the fire went beyond the realm of just spot news and spoke to us on many levels. The jury unanimously felt that this image needed to be recognized and honoured as the Picture of the Year 2012. And while it won 3rd place in the spot news category, it surpassed both in its category and every other winning image in the competition,” said Jury member Pablo Bartholomew, explaining the jury decision.

“It was very strong and layered, both beautiful and terrifyingly tragic. Adding to its beauty was  the near monochromatic colourlessness of the tones, the bleak sadness of an unwinnable war against the fire, of a stark consumed, devastated urban landscape, at the point of no return and within this is setting is  this human figure  that one cannot help but gape and laud the courage, spirit and strength. The body language of this figure engaged in battle, the immense tenacity to fight on against all odds was what made it a compelling and enduring winning image,” he said on behalf of the three-member jury.

Jury member Kevin Frayer of The Associated Press observed “The picture of the year is striking in many ways. But for me it is simply one man fighting alone something far bigger then himself...a kind of a "David and Goliath" scene. The fire has razed the entire market yet he battles on. The viewer can study the sheer determination as he fights to save what he can. It is strong photojournalism in its most simple form."

Ranjit Hoskote, Media Foundation of India Chairman and poet /art curator said, “I am happy that YES BANK has stepped forward to partner MFI National Press Photo Contest from this year. I am certain that this partnership will help strengthen the MFI National Press Photo Contest brand and help broaden its activities across India. I would like to thank our eminent jury for doing such a fantastic job for the second consecutive year.”

Commenting on the association and the contest, Dr. Rana Kapoor, Managing Director and CEO, YES BANK, said, "We are pleased to be involved with this unique initiative which is highlighting the importance of photo journalism in print media, as their exemplary efforts need far greater appreciation and recognition. These photo media stalwarts consistently narrate to us highly relevant stories predicated on images which at times cannot be expressed as effectively through words. We look forward to making this an annual event in association with MFI.”

About Media Foundation of India
Media Foundation of India is a not-for-profit trust started byfour Mumbai-based media professionals as an independent platform to organise media-relatedactivities that could extend beyond journalistic endeavours to promote a knowledgeexchange on wide-ranging contemporary issues. MFI National Press Photo Contest is India’s only national-level contest for professional press photographers and is in its second year.

About Yes Bank
YES BANK, India’s fourth largest private sector Bank, is the outcome of the professional & entrepreneurial commitment of its Founder, Dr. Rana Kapoor and his top management team, to establish a high quality, customer centric, service driven,  private Indian Bank catering to the Future Businesses of India. YES BANK has adopted international best practices, the highest standards of service quality and operational excellence, and offers comprehensive banking and financial solutions to all its valued customers. YES BANK has a knowledge driven approach to banking, and a superior customer experience for its retail, corporate and emerging corporate banking clients. YES BANK is steadily evolving as the Professionals’ Bank of India with the vision of “Building the Best Quality Bank of the World in India” by 2015.

MFI Yesbank National  Press Photo Contest 2012

List of all Award Winners

Picture of the Year: Mandar Deodhar/India Today

General News
First Prize  - Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times
Second Prize – Manish Swaroop/The Associated Press
Third Prize – Prasad Gori/Hindustan Times
Honorable Mention 1 - Ajay Agarwal/Hindustan Times
Honorable Mention 2 – Raj k Raj/Hindustan Times
Honorable Mention 3 - Ajay Agarwal/Hindustan Times

Spot News
First Prize – Salil Bera/The Week
Second Prize – Sachin Kadvekar/Fotocorp
Third Prize – Mandar Deodhar/India Today
Honorable Mention 1 – Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times
Honorable Mention 2 – Dar Yasin/The Associated Press
Honorable Mention 3 – Partha Paul/The Indian Express

Daily Life
First Prize – Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times
Second Prize – Sivaram V/Reuters
Third Prize – Prasad Gori/Hindustan Times
Honorable Mention 1 – Shankar Lattur/The Times of India
Honorable Mention 2 – Sachin Vaidya/Saamana
Honorable Mention 3 – Swastik Pal/Freelance

First Prize – Senthil Kumaran/Trikaya Photos
Second Prize – Sudipto Das/The Times of India
Third Prize – Manvender Vashist/PTI
Honorable Mention – KR Deepak/The Hindu

Art & Culture
First Prize – Raul Irani/Open Magazine
Second Prize – Rajesh Singh/The Associated Press
Third Prize – Shantanu Das/Bombay Times
Honorable Mention – Chhandak Pradhan/Freelance

Best Photo Stories
First Prize – Rafiq Maqbool/The Associated Press
Second Prize – Dar Yasin//The Associated Press
Third Prize – Zishaan Akbar Latif/Freelance
Honorable Mention – Nishant Ratnakar/Freelance

To view all the winning images, log on to Media Foundation of India website

Thursday, July 05, 2012

2011 deadliest year for journalists

2011 turned out to be the deadliest for journalists. 72 journalists were killed worldwide. A report from International Press Institute Congress in Trinidad. IPI Congress had several interesting interactions which you could read here 

Another wonderful article by James Estrin of NYT Lens -- Iraq war through the eyes and the work of photojournalists

Interesting story on BBC - Riding NY's A train 

One of the largest photo festivals, Chobi Mela's eighth edition will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in Jan 2013. Last date of submissions for the festival is July 31. So hurry!

Happy reading!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The white paper on Black Money or the 108 page bikini!

The UPA government today tabled the white paper published by the Finance Ministry headed by Pranab Mukherjee. BJP's Jaswant Singh described it as a "bikini" that conceals the essentials and displays the non-essentials! Here is the full text of the document in pdf sourced from the news website, You can download this document and read.

Happy reading!