Somebody said it right that a picture is worth a thousand words. By Contrast Mother Nature has built into our brain our ability to see the visual world and interpret it. Statistically, 90% of the information transmitted into our brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,00X times faster than plain text in the brain. Photography has a tremendous capability to impart affinity and connection. The proximity of the visual medium allows us to shape and reshape popular narratives.
Photo Kathmandu, a new addition to the international photography festival circuit, which was held between Nov 3- Nov 9, 2015 was an approach to commemorate the golden history of Nepal over the past six decades. The event was organised by Photo Circle and was successfully held for a week in different parts of Lalitpur. The central theme of the event was time. It featured 18 print exhibitions displayed in public spaces – alleyways and squares; 20 artist talks; slide show nights; and workshops. It’s being held in the historic city of Patan. I was fortunate enough to be a part of Photo Kathmandu this year. Being a part of any photo festival is always a joy. It makes you realise how much things have changed over a period of time and also brings you back down the memory lane.
The central theme “time” was actually related to the underlying theme “Change”. Time and change are inevitably intertwined. Each and every exhibition showcased a certain chapter of Nepal’s history. The photographs traced the history of Nepali Society and the evolution in the past half-century. Walking through different print exhibitions, I realised that the earthquake was only one chapter of Nepal’s history. It was a misfortune for everyone of us but we can’t deny the fact that this shall be a chapter in our history and we will move forward. Photo Kathmandu was an initiative to present a narrative of Nepal that is considerably different from the limited ones of poverty and disorder that permeate the global consciousness.
Photo Kathmandu is Nepal’s first international photography festival. The main motive behind conducting Photo Kathmandu was to to bring back some attention to Nepal in a way that tells distinct stories of Nepal and Nepali society – stories of resilience, our ability to adapt quickly to changes, no matter how sudden, and the strength of our community ties. Photo Kathmandu took place around the ruins of historic city Patan, as a reminder of what we have lost and, what and how we aim to recover. For me, Photo Kathmandu was a tribute to the fact that Nepal still stands strong despite of going through the worst nightmare and that we will always bounce back without dwelling into the past. The money raised by the festival will go to rebuilding and recovering old heritages of the valley.