Beating off a stiff challenge from eight academies, two mass communications students of Jamia Millia Islamia and their mentor have won the right to represent Asia at the finals of the Sony World Photography Awards at Cannes next month. There they will face competitors from five other continents.
“It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. What my students have done is to create pictures that make you think another thousand words,” Farhat Basir Khan, professor of media and communications at Jamia’s Mass Communications Research Centre (MCRC), said of the effort by Neal Kartik and Pranab Kumar Aich.
The participants, both post-graduate students at MCRC, are working towards a diploma in still photography and visual communications.
Neal’s winning entry in the Asian round is titled With Each Diamond Eye and was taken in Orissa’s Kalinga Nagar that was once a quiet area of paddy fields and lush green forests.
Pranab’s photograph is titled Fallen Angels and graphically depicts how, with nesting sites vanishing, “it is now not so uncommon to find eggs fallen on the earth, helplessly lying, awaiting to be crushed under the inevitable wheels of human greed”.
The challenge they faced in the Asia round was enormous: fending off student photographers from top academies like the China Academy of Art, Fatima Jinnah Women University (Pakistan) and the formidable Tokyo Zokei University in Sony’s home ground.
The effort has won the duo and the mentor an all-expense paid trip to Cannes from April 12 to 19, where they will now face two competitors each from Europe, South America, North America, Africa/Middle East and Australasia, with the eventual winners taking home Sony digital equipment worth 45,000 euros.
Road to victory
“It is indeed a proud moment for India and Jamia. It is the sheer hard work and determination of Neal and Pranab that has won us this prestigious honour,” Khan said. “Everything else apart, we are this year celebrating the silver jubilee of MCRC,” he added.
Before the final round, the 12 participants will be put through a workshop where it will be explained what is expected out of them. Thereafter, they will be given state-of-the-art Sony digital cameras to shoot their pictures, Khan explained.
After that, the winning entries, as also those that made it through the continental round, will travel across the globe to be showcased in the finest galleries across the world, Khan added.