A photobook is not a coffee table book.
That is a thought you would rather do well to keep in mind while attending the Bangalore Weekend of Photobooks, an event put together by couple Vidya Rao and Mahesh Shantaram to celebrate photobooks. In fact, that’s precisely one of the misconceptions the couple make clear, when we sit down for a freewheeling conversation, ahead of the event.
“The general opinion is that a photobook is a coffee table book,” opens Vidya to which Mahesh adds, “Spreading awareness around, that there’s so much more to photography than only shooting photos, and introducing the concept of photobooks are in fact reasons why we’d started the Open House photobook library at our home.”
Because he mentions the Open House, our conversation digresses towards it, especially so because their idea of the open house is the kind that can, and does, take you by surprise. You see, once a month, Vidya and Mahesh open the doors of their home to people who are practically strangers, to come in, plonk themselves anywhere in the living room and scour through their collection of photobooks, for hours at a stretch. The entry is free.
While they laugh off the ‘inviting strangers in’ bit with a casual, “That thought never really crossed our minds until we had our families and friends pointing it to us,” the duo say they are more than glad with the response they’ve received from their visitors. “We are pleasantly surprised by the way people have responded to the openhouse. We have mostly got people who are genuinely interested in the concept coming in. We think people are able to realise the seriousness of our intent and respond to that seriousness.”
You can then say that the Bangalore Weekend of Photobooks is an initiative that takes this seriousness several notches higher. Because not only does the event allow you, as a visitor, to sit and browse through an exceptional collection of photobooks collected from around the world, it also lets you engage in a series of talks by eminent photographers, watch a film or shop for your own photobook.
As is wont with most interesting events, we wonder what compelled them to do the event on a grander scale. To which they reveal that their idea to organise a festival-for-all owes itself to the arrival of the Box of Books. Throwing more light on it, Mahesh says, “Box of Books is this concept where a photographer — Matt Johnston— puts in a selection of photobooks in a box and sends them across Europe to members of the Photobook Club he’s a co-founder of.”
As members of the club, Mahesh and Vidya have the honours of being the first ones in Asia to receive the box. Says Mahesh, “When the box came (from Madrid), we felt more people had to see it. That is how we decided to move the event to a gallery where more people can spend time over these books.” Like all exciting ideas, the concept as Mahesh enthuses, slowly grew to include talks and a movie screening. “The box has become a small part of the weekend now,” he
Quiz the duo on what they expect people take away from the event and their answer is prompt. Says Mahesh, “A disappointing facet in the photography space in the city today is the fact that for all the practical photography workshops that are conducted here, there are no discourses, serious discussions held about the subject itself. We want people to go back from the event saying they learnt something from it.” Even as the conversation draws down to a close, the two make it a point to reiterate that the event is not only for photographers.
“It is for everybody.”
Be at Thalam Gallery, 80, Krishna Reddy Colony, Domlur, 11am -7pm, on July 20-21. Entry is free.
- Oh for a little of Nigella Lawson's courtroom brilliance
- India's always been a dream destination: Avicii
- Beauty Queries
- Keep surprising yourself: Shonali Nagrani
- 10 Nutritious Recipes for Working Women in 10 minutes
- What's your New Year scene bro?
- While travelling, my taste buds start looking for something new, local, or sometimes weird as well: Vicky Ratnani
- Get picture perfect
- Travel Light, return lighter: Tips for a healthy travel
- Students, travellers, food bloggers make elaborate meals in a coffee maker
A photobook is not a coffee table book.
- Sunil Grover's show at the same time as Kapil Sharma's? - 11 hours ago
- 'Jai Ho' new poster: Salman Khan's favourite Sana Khan gets two back-to-back posters - 8 hours ago
- I'm not here to make friends: Kareena Kapoor after hearing Ranbir Kapoor's statement - 7 hours ago
- Sofia Hayat eliminated from 'Bigg Boss 7' - 1 hour ago
- Indian television and film actor Vinay Apte no more, fans on Twitter mourn - 2 hours ago