The DaDaFest International, a Liverpool-based art festival, this week will showcase the works of two visually challenged photographers from the city. This is the first time the duo— Mahesh Umrania and Kanchan Pamnani— are showcasing at an international exhibition after having enrolled to study photography with Partho Bhowmick as part of his Blind With Camera project.
Umrani and Pamnani were Bhowmick’s first students in 2006 after he founded the organisation. The duo has attended workshops over the years and now contributed to the images that Bhowmick will showcase at the exhibition. “The 30-40 images that we’re showcasing have been taken by numerous blind photographers. They’re the best of the lot, and prove that even blind people perceive,” Bhowmick says.
The theme this year is Objects of Curiosity and Desire. While Bhowmick interprets the thought of blind photography as one arousing curiosity and every artiste’s desire to create, Pamnani has a different take. “To me, it’s only when you’re curious can you desire and then get better at it. I wish to learn newer methods of photography and then teach them to others,” she says.
Besides the exhibition, the photographers will also get a day to travel around Liverpool and shoot images of the city. “On the opening day, photographers will be taking pictures of each other to make their introductions interactive. This way, sighted people can learn a little about blind photography,” he says.
Bhowmick has received countless accolades for his initiative since 2006. “My final aim is to incorporate it as a vocational subject in Indian schools,” says Bhowmick, who will also speak about blind photography at the Nehru Science Centre in London.