In the first week of November, I did my first ever photo exhibition. EVER. It had been a long time coming. ( Now that it actually happened, it feels like no big deal – that I was worried about it unnecessarily – although, a major part of the credit goes to Antje Pfahl, who organized TEDxGurugram and gave me space to showcase the #EyesForGurugram series. Without her support, this wouldn’t have been possible. )
The series that was showcased at this exhibition was titled #EyesForGurugram. ( Hood knows I wanted to call it #EyesForGurgaon but then that wouldn’t have stayed within the theme of the TEDx that was being organized and would not have been fair to the organizer’s branding. So I bought both EyesForGurgaon.com and EyesForGurugram.com, to be on the safe side. ) The series was specially commissioned for this TEDx event and the brief was to represent the city of Gurgaon with a “different” perspective.
For the longest time, I just sat around wondering what I could do to make the images “just amazing” and “awesome” and make them in such a way that ALL of them would find a new home after buyers queued up to buy them right off the wall where they would be displayed. Then, about ten days before the actual date of the exhibition, after the idea had stewed in my head for months, we finally decided to drive around Gurgaon and FIND these photographs.
Bharat drove me around for hours and hours and we got stuck in some crazy traffic. ( Since we don’t have a 9-5 gig to go to, we never venture out in peak-traffic hours. But when busy photographing and looking for spots to find the correct frame, peak traffic hours snuck up on us and before we knew it, the 15 minute commute had turned into two hours of twiddling our thumbs. And we could no longer photograph either because the Sun had set. ) In 2-3 days of driving around, I felt like I had the material from which I could make this work. I made thousands of captures.
We had initially planned to keep the number of prints limited to eight or a maximum of ten because we had decided on a budget constraint. Eventually, we ended up showing fourteen prints at the photo exhibition.
The other question that had come up was of presentation – should we print photo prints and have those framed and displayed or should we go for canvas prints? I’m a fan of canvas prints because they look more like “art” – and the frame is easier to handle – comes pre-framed from the vendor, is lighter in weight and requires less money investment and care. Care and maintenance of a canvas print is basically nil once it’s been sprayed with a varnish. Then one can wipe off dust and grime even with a wet cloth and it would not affect the print. Even if termites ate into the wooden frame of the canvas print, the canvas could always be removed from the frame and remounted. With a photo frame, silver fish would probably eat the print as well. It is paper at the end of the day.
After much deliberation, we decided to stick with mounted canvas prints and in retrospect that was a good decision.
We were lucky when we got out to photograph Gurgaon. It was literally 3-4 days before the crop burning fucked up the air in NCR and the blue skies went missing. The colours in the photos work because of the POP of blue in pretty much all of them. I love color and lots of it. ( If it wasn’t already evident from all the photos on this website! )
I got the photographs onto the laptop and looked at thumbnails and after a bit of consistent post-production on some of my favorite frames, the composites and combinations fell into place. Having done something similar during the Dubai trip, I had been toying with the idea of doing this for Gurgaon as well. Only problem was, there’s nothing that comes close to being even half as tall as the Burj Khalifa! So there was no way I was going to get photographs with as much intricate detail. Even accessing some of the tallest buildings in Gurgaon would be a pain because most places do not grant roof access and even getting to a top floor would mean actually knowing someone who lived or worked on that floor. This would require months of planning and we just did not have that kind of time.
But it all worked out in the end. We were even given roof access by a hotel! ( Something I am not going to forget any time soon. What a nice thing to do! Huge risk for them, but they still took it – to help promote art! Guess who’s a fan of the brand now. )
The composites I put together, were of some well-known buildings and landmarks in the new part of Gurgaon. We thought that since most of the people who would attend TEDxGurugram would be from the new part of Gurgaon, it would make sense to create something specifically aimed at them. Landmarks they recognize and see each day but never really pay attention to. When they saw the prints, we hoped they would think, “Wait, that looks familiar… what is that?”
As far as that hope went, it worked. Really well. During the exhibition, we had people walking up to us asking what exactly it is they were seeing and their eyes lit up each time they identified the buildings / landmarks. We also tried to provide little clues in the names of each frame. One gentleman even came up to tell us that one of the frames was of a building he lived in with his family! Lots of people took selfies with the prints and many took photos of the prints themselves.
We had decided to put the frames for sale for a special price only if someone made the purchase at the TEDxGurugram venue. We had also decided to make these limited edition prints. If someone bought it at the venue, they would own the only print of the photo ever produced. We made a sale too! ( Honestly, it still hasn’t really hit home that someone actually bought a print at my first ever photo exhibition! We delivered the print last week! ) I had scoped out placements for each frame at my apartment because we decided to go in with expectations of zero sales. It’s the best way to really enjoy being at the exhibition and interacting with curious viewers. No hard selling – heck no selling at all. It was a glorious day! Obviously, one I’m never ever going to forget.
At the end of the day, we wrapped everything up and brought the prints home. I’m currently in the process of spraying them with clear varnish to preserve the colours. And the prints are available for purchase! ( Well except the one we sold. ) If you’re curious to know more, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the print you’re interested in. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity. While the pricing has changed, we have decided to keep the prints limited edition – only one of each is available for purchase. They measure 36 x 24 inches and are all horizontally displayed.
Enjoy the photographs from my first ever photo exhibition!
( The story about TEDxGurugram was blogged earlier. )
The print above, called HORIZON EYE, is the one that was sold and is no longer available.
Here’s to many more!
Shop for more prints on the Naina.co Store.
We also sold a print from the Ladakh series recently – and – obviously, blogged about it!