A lot of ‘goings on’ recently with exhibition openings in Perth, a rewarding ‘road trip’ in India, a bit of recognition from ‘Budapest’ … and an image on the walls at the Royal Photographic Society in England.
Travelled to Perth (and Fremantle) last month for two exhibition openings at two events … the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’ (FIPP) one week and the ‘IRIS Portrait Awards’ at the Perth Centre for Photography the next.
Satisfyingly, both included personal works … ‘Tomotaro on the Block’ and ‘Generations- Aurukun’ in the ‘FIPP’ … and just ‘Generations – Aurukun’ in the ‘IRIS’. Both great opening eves … first time for me in the ‘IRIS’ collection, but third time in the mix for the ‘FIPP’. Nice also to have a good opportunity to spend a little time in the West and catch up with photographer colleagues Richard Wainwright, Roger Garwood, Johannes Reinhart, Peter Ramshaw and Justin Ma… and also sparkling Nikon rep Julie Kimpton.
From Perth it was four flights to Mumbai (including a quick overnight stopover in Little India Singapore) where I met up with friend and former photo editor at the Indian Express, director of Solaris Images … and all round good bloke Srienivas Akella. ‘Srini’ had organised flights for the two of us to Raipur in the state of Chhattisgarh where I had identified one story in particular that I was keen to work on.
Srini has extensive knowledge of his home country and had also searched out a few other possible pic stories to fill any ‘blanks’ in covering my main objective. As it turned out we managed three stories over six days … my main story (which stretched over three days and involved twenty four hours of driving through Chhattisgarh – all will be revealed when the story and pics are placed and published) … pics of two (apparently of five) of the surviving full body tattooed ‘Ramnami’ – a low caste sect that once endured having the name of their god Rama etched over their entire bodies … and a continuation of my earlier ‘Typewriter Wallahs’ pic essay (this time in the city of Raipur) on the men (and woman) of India who persist in working with (and repairing) ancient manual typewriters.
The weeks work culminated back in Mumbai on a big Diwali celebration night of fireworks, colour and food with Srini, his family and his very pleasant community. Thanks Srini !
Also received great news … an email from ‘Portrait Salon’ stating … “Dear Brian, We are delighted to tell you that our judge, Peter Dench, has selected the attached image (‘Tomotaro on the Block’ … yeah that one again) to be included in this year’s Portrait Salon selection. This year, ‘Portrait Salon’ will be exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol, from 21 – 28 November. It will then travel up to Harrogate to be part of the Photo North Festival, from 30 November – 2 December. The images will be presented both as a slideshow, and in print.”
Of course … I am stoked …
UK based ‘Portrait Salon’ is a sort of a ‘Salon des Refusés’ and solicits work that doesn’t make the winners cut of the monumental National Portrait Gallery (London) ‘Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize’ each year. Now in it’s 9th annual edition ‘Portrait Salon’ arguably shows more interesting work than the ‘Taylor Wessing’.
‘Tomotaro’ certainly has been good for me … as well as the ‘Portrait Salon’ and ‘FIPP’ mentioned above, it has also been recognised in the Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA), the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), The Australian Photography Awards (APA) and the 12th International Color Awards.
Not far behind, ‘Generations – Aurukun’ has featured in the ‘IRIS’ and ‘FIPP’ mentioned and also the 2019 Portrait of Humanity and The Australian Photography Awards (APA).
Also at the end of October both of these images were announced ‘Winners’ in their respective categories (Editorial Sports and People) in the inaugural 2019 Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA). Nice news to arrive home in Cairns to …
Images below © Brian Cassey … as follows from top … ‘Ramnami’ Maherttar Ram Tandon at his home in Churella Village, Chhattisgarh, India. Maherttar is covered all over his body with tattoos repeating the name of his God Rama … D. N. Verma amongst old manual typewriters that he is repairing at his Chhattisgarh Typewriter Works company in Raipur … my ‘Generations – Aurukun’ work at the ‘IRIS Awards‘, Perth Centre for Photography … ‘Tomotaro on the Block’ on the wall of the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’, Moore’s Gallery, Fremantle (the same pic as selected for the ‘Portrait Salon’ in the UK’) … ‘Generations – Aurukun’ at the ‘Fremantle International Portrait Prize’, Moore’s Gallery, Fremantle.