I am not sure when I began liking still photographs. But somewhere along the school going years, I began collecting photographs from newspapers, and magazines. I remember keeping a clipping of my favourite actress Smita Patil that was published in a Marathi newspaper on her first death anniversary because it captured Smita's expressive eyes well.
My father was then working with the Indo-Czech Friendship Forum, and the Czech consulate would send the official Czech magazine similar to the American Span. The magazine had some of the amazing pictures of Czech Republic's beautiful countryside. I remember a particular one which showed a line of pine trees, and their reflection in a lake which had absolutely still waters. There was another one on a Russian magazine which showed a young Russian couple looking at a sunrise. It was the time of perestroika, and the expressions on their faces captured the monumental change Russian society was experiencing at that point in history.
Slowly, I began following news photographs. It was the late Eighties and early Nineties, and there was a wonderful creativity about photojournalism. Mumbai had several newspapers and each of them had strong photo departments that would compete with each other. And, we would look every morning to see who had better pictures, who had exclusives etc.
Thanks to so many of my friends, I realised the difference between photographers and photojournalists. Thanks to them, I got to see the works of some of the world's leading stalwarts of photojournalism - Henri Cartier Bresson, W Eugene Smith, Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, Steve McCurry, and so many more.
Much has changed over the years. The photographic film roll is history. Digital cameras, photoshop, all colour pictures have taken over. I am still fascinated by photographs - the art of capturing the moment and freezing it forever. And that is why photocontests fascinate me because they showcase contemporary photo-journalism. So, here I go again... I am doing it as part of the Media Foundation of India.
Media Foundation of India
MFI National Press Photo Contest 2011
Arts and Culture
Best Photo Stories
Total prize money to be won: Rs 6.75 lakh
Top prize: Rs 75,000
Pictures shot between Jan 1, 2010, and Dec 31, 2010 eligible
No entry fee
Entries could be sent on email or in a CD couriered to our office
Award ceremony in March 2011
Photobook of winning images
Photo exhibition of winning pictures
Entry Deadline: February 7, 2011.
Jury: Pablo Bartholomew, Arko Datta, Kevin Frayer
For more information and online entry form, log on to: http://mfi.org.in/