An interesting trend emerged at the India Art Fair this year, apart from the return of the canvas that we earlier reported. There was a lot of interest in photographic art among the buyers. Various gallery owners turned to pictures this time, and many walls at the fair were covered with black and white vintage photographs.
“Artists are experimenting with new mediums these days and photographs are much more versatile. Even from a gallerist’s point, one feels that paintings become a bit boring. It has to be something trendy. Also, it’s much affordable. So in terms of sale, it works well”, says Malini Gulrajani, Owner of 1x1 Art Gallery.
The Tasveer gallery, which deals only with photographs, doesn’t feel like a poor cousin of the paintings anymore. Nathaniel Gaskell, the creative director, says there is change in the air.
“I have been attending the fair for two years now and I do see that more and more galleries are exhibiting photographs. We have a big range from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 20 lakh. The young crowd may not want to buy something which is ten times more expensive. So, I think photography makes art more accessible,” he explains.
Photo-artist Prashant Panjiar says the trend has been around for a while and it is to do with the exorbitant price tag on paintings. “If you look for a contemporary artist’s work, it will be nothing less than Rs. 50 lakh to a crore may be, while a print of Raghu Rai’s photograph can be bought within Rs. 5 lakh,” he says. Meanwhile, Abhay Maskara from Gallery Maskara feels India is obsessed with clicking pictures.
“People are more comfortable with pictures because at the end of the day, everybody is a photographer!” he says.
Art for the niche
Sandhya, a Bangalore-based artist, has taken it as a mission to sensitise people on the issue of transgender rights. Her work includes photographs of Tamil Nadu’s transgender community and a documentary to go with it. “We often use the terms Gender identity and Sexual orientation interchangeably. We are not aware of the fact that there are 25 genders in the world; the terms that we use derogatorily are in fact the gender identities of many. We still look at people through the conventional prism of man and woman. If someone does not fit into that prism, he or she becomes queer for us”, says the artist.