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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Photo Kathmandu

A moment of their own - women dancing by Larry Daloz

A Young Tharu Man from Ravi Mohan Shrestha Collection

Builders from Boharagaun by David Carlson

If you're in Delhi in the first week of November, there's the Delhi Photo Festival (more of which later). If you're in Kathmandu, there's Photo Kathmandu (3rd - 9th November), an event that needs support in particular because of the devastating earthquake that happened there earlier this year.

If you're in both places in the same week, you could do a subcontinental Photo Festival double-header.

I put a few questions to Nayantara Kakshapti about the festival and photography in Nepal as a whole. This is what she said

How and why did Photo Kathmandu begin?

We have been dreaming of this festival for a few years now. After the earthquakes in April and May, we decided to just go for it. Nepal can use all the positive attention it can get this year. A festival will allow us to invite the global photography community to Nepal, creating possibilities for the local photography community to access global networks, and also promote photography to local audiences.   

What are the main events this year?

We will have about 12 curated print shows featuring Nepali as well as international photographers such as Philip Blenkinsop, Kevin Bubriski, Kishor Sharma and Bikas Rauniar. We have 8 workshops designed not only to build photography skills but also skills for writers, editors and others who work with photography. We have an artist residency for photo and jazz artists that strives to promote collaboration and experimentation. And 6 days of programming that will include artist talks, discussions and slideshows.  

What are the difficulties photography faces in Nepal?

Nepali photographers struggle to get paid decent wages, they dont have editors and publishers who understand and value their work enough, they have limited networks to get their work out into the world. Also, it is a challenge to free 'the Nepal story' from either the poor 'third world' country story or the exotic beautiful tourist destination story. We don't have a photography school in Nepal so young photographers who want to learn how to be better at what they do, have to rely on workshops or look at expensive programs beyond Nepal.        

Is photography being used in any way to help overcome the earthquake devastation?

Along with good friends Sumit Dayal and Tara Bedi, we were involved in setting up #nepalphotoproject on Instagram and Facebook since the day after the first earthquake on 25 April. The project aimed to crowd source photographs and information from the ground and inform people about rescue, relief and rebuilding work. 

This is an on-going project that will aim to document Nepal's long term recovery. As mainstream media has moved on, this project looks at keeping the post-earthquake Nepal story alive and accessible. Also, we are selling archival prints from Nepal Picture Library- a digital archive we set up in 2011- to raise money for rebuilding heritage sites in the old city of Patan where the festival will be hosted. This has been a way to sort of lean on our past, to help rebuild for the future. More info at www.support.photoktm.com      

Who are some of the Nepali photographers we should look at?

Kishor Sharma, Prasiit Sthapit, Surendra Lawoti, Shikhar Bhattarai, Sailendra Kharel, Rohan Thapa.

Support the rebuilding of heritage sites in Patan by buying an exquisite limited edition print! support.photoktm.com 


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