Saturday, August 1, 2015

My View:, By: Adit Agarwala, FRPS, EFIAP

-My View- 

By: Adit Agarwala, FRPS, EFIAP

In today’s fast going life almost everyone wants to achieve success instantly and through shortcuts. This trend can be seen in the field of fine arts also. I had an opportunity to judge a reputed International Photography Contest a few years back with some photo artists of very high repute. Mr. Adit Agarwala, a renowned artist, was also a jury member. During the judging session we were surprised to witness that some participants had submitted the same or the identical pictures in different categories of the Contest. This compelled us to have a serious discussion. We all were equally bothered to observe this ridiculous trend. Mr. Adit Agarwala, who is a good thinker as well, wrote a thoughtful write-up about the said trend. This piece of writing was published in the official journal of FIP, “VIEWFINDER”, in its October 2007 issue … page 12 & 13. This write-up is being shared here so that we may think over the said ill practice intensely and try to keep ourselves away from such silly things in order to promote real creativity. 
(The word, "Salon" in the following write-up stands for Art Exhibition)
--Dr. Pankaj Sharma

“The title of this write-up would appear to be a bit confusing to learned readers. Some may wonder whether the is a new site of photographs and if so, a few might even be tempted of exploring it. But, let me set that doubt at rest. And, I have reconfirmed it with Google. There is no such site to explore, not so far at least. However, even I almost believed so until that reconfirmation.
The occasion was a recent Jury meeting of a reputed International Salon where I was also present. The members of Jury were taken aback when in the Jury meeting for 'color prints' section, a few color prints were displayed seeking opinion of the Jury. The reason for surprise was that in the earlier Jury session for "Monochrome prints", identical prints had already been shown to the Jury. The surprise reached its climax when in the next jury session of 'Color slides', the same pictures were again shown (i.e. projected) which were identical to the earlier ones shown in Monochrome and later on in Color Print sections. The Jury of course, performed their job to their satisfaction. Most important, while awarding the judgment the Jury was almost unanimous.
But the episode made me think, why should this happen? Why someone should send identical pictures in three different sections? What benefit could it provide to the participant? Or was the participant trying his luck treating the Salon as a lottery site?
I have firm belief that a picture is best suited for only one stream. If a picture is best in say 'Monochrome' then it will lose its beauty and impact in 'Color print' or 'Color slide' section. On the other hand, if the picture is best in 'Color print' or 'Color slide' section then it would not make any impact in the remaining sections.
So the question remained -- why the participant had to send identical pictures in three different sections? Was it not a sign of bankruptcy? If it was not, then what was the intention? That perhaps ….. the Jury would overlook this repetition and accept some of the pictures if not in one section then in the other?
I do not know the participant or what exactly, were his intentions in sending identical pictures in more than one sections of the same Salon. But I feel sorry to add that such an approach if not anything else, does indicate at least 'lack of confidence'. It is almost like participation in a lottery. Compared to the participatory amount the prize money is very high; a prize of Rs.1.00 crore against a ticket of Rs.10.00, provided it strikes. So in order to improve the chances of getting a prize, increase individual participation. Instead of buying one lottery ticket, buy three or even more. The chances of hitting the jackpot are definitely brightened to that extent. Thus, in the area of salons, send twelve pictures instead of four. Since there is restriction on number of entries per section, and unfortunate that one does not have pictures for participation in every section in the salon; so utilize the Genie of the IT Lamp. The Genie turns every digitized image into Monochrome print, Color print and the 'Color slide' was already there. And, one is now ready to strike rich in salons, except the hitch of the Jury who is guided by ethics and independent thinking.
This again brings us to another and very important aspect - whether the salon participation can be equated to participation in a lottery? Well, certainly not. It is neither desirable nor was it ever intended when this movement came into being. Our country is endowed with renowned photo artists - Benu Sen, K. G. Maheshwari, O. P. Sharma, S. R. Patel, Susanta Banerjee, T N A Perumal, H. Sathish, Waman Thakre to name a few, and even those who are no more with us like C. Rajagopal, Kumar Sukhdeo Singh, Sachin, T. Kashinath and many more. Each one of them specializes in their own style. All of them have been the star performers in international photographic salons. They never made a second picture, which was alike another one. The question of creating an identical picture for another section did never arise.
We create a picture primarily to satisfy our creative urge. It does not matter if it gets rejected in a salon. If a picture got rejected due to faulty composition or bad print quality in one section, identical copies of the same in other medium such as color print or color slide are most likely to suffer with the same fate. It probably would never help to equate a salon with a lottery. Instead we should be confident of what we are doing and why we are doing so.”
(Courtesy:  View Finder, The Official Journal of FIP, October 2007, page 12 & 13. )


  1. Excellent article! Thanks for sharing...

  2. Dear Sir,

    I hope you are fine.

    Very thoughtful article indeed. Actually I had the same experience while judging at couple of international salons.
    Being a judge, a had a little scope to share my observation to the salon organizing committee, since I had to judge, what they have "catered".
    It has been very common in my city, that a color image which is "successful" in one salon, evidently comes back with its own "monochrome" edition within a couple of months, and with a different title.
    And, sarcastically enough, some do not bother to change the title too, .....[eg color image- Miss Sunshine, and its subsequent monochrome-Miss Sunshine M]
    All I can do is to- request all the organizers and the parent body administrators to come up with a strong guideline to restrict these practices.
    Further I request your initiative to formulate something to curb the malpractices.

    -Suman Saha.

  3. Dear Dr Pankaj,
    Thanks for your post, it is nice to have a refreshment of
    dear Adit-ji's observation on prevailing practices in salons. This write-up
    was of Oct '2007 & he visited Jamshedpur with his family was in Nov '2007.
    Virendra Singh-Jamshedpur

  4. Thank you sir for sharing ,
    its really a thoughtful & eye opening article....

    Pankaj Sharma