Saturday, April 28, 2012

Putting Mkg in world photography map

    The article was first published on The Morung Express Feature | Mokokchung | April 21

For the first time in Mokokchung, a group of young photography enthusiasts have come together to put Mokokchung in the world photography map through a novel project called ‘Mokokchung Visual Diary’ – a more than two week photography workshop for any interested photo enthusiast in the society.
The Mokokchung Visual Diary is a joint project of Mokokchung Photography Club and Goa – Centre for Alternative Photography (Goa-CAP), and this project aims to equip the young photo enthusiasts in the society on the basics of photography. This photography workshops, the Mokokchung Photography Club (MPC) says, is open to everyone, though the seats are limited to thirty people only. The participants should have only one thing – a love for photography and willingness to learn the art and science of photography. It is not necessary for the participants to own a camera; mobile phone camera, digital camera, analogue or even if a person doesn’t own a camera, can attend the workshop, the organizers stated. Even the registration fee has been put at a minimum, Rs 1000 per person for the whole workshop.
The resource persons – Edson Dias and Chaitanya Guttikar – all the way from Goa will be the resource persons for the whole two week workshop.

 For the love of Photography
 The two professional photographers from Goa-CAP have one thing in common – a love of photography and travelling. Unlike other photographers, Edson and Guttikar uses only analogue camera. Guttikar uses a ‘Large Format View Camera’ while Edson TLR (Twin lens Reflex) camera and they like to develop their own pictures in their lab.
“Using digital cameras takes away all the fun of photography…we love to capture pictures and develop it…it’s like taking fast food and real cooked food,” these two photographers asserts. They have the knowledge about digital camera, the analogue, the light settings, the shutter speed and et al; but they love storytelling through photography.

Visual Stories
Edson and Guttikar arrived in Mokokchung last November with a simple objective – to document the contemporary Ao youths. “The world knows of the Nagas as headhunting tribe. All the pictures are about the people in traditional dresses, so the people have a notion that the Nagas are still in the past, whereas it is not,” said Guttikar. So last year, these two photographers simply documented the contemporary Ao youths (entrepreneurs, working professionals, and ordinary people) during their visit in Mokokchung.
“When we first came here, we thought Mokokchung to be a small village, but once we came here we came to know that is a big place! And you people have a lot of stories to tell to the world,” said Guttikar, who has a PhD in Mathematics from Princeton University. This non-assuming Guttikar was teaching in University of Miami, until the love of photography got the better of him. His friend Edson Dias added, “We are outsiders here, and we hope that the (local) people here would be able to tell a better story because we have so much stories to tell, and the local people being insiders will have a better story to tell.”
The story telling through visual images might just be beginning.

Mokokchung Photography Club
Perhaps one of the smallest clubs in Mokokchung, but this club is composed of some people dedicated for the promotion of photography in Nagaland. There are some trained photographers, journalists and entrepreneurs in this club sharing a deep love for the promotion of the society through photos. Formed only last year, the Mokokchung Photography Club has successfully organized the first M-Fest Photo Exhibition Cum Contest in Mokokchung; this will be the second big venture for the club.

Mokokchung visual diary
A website has already been created- – a blog has been created already and plans are underway to observe the World Pinhole Camera Day at Mokokchung. A camera shaped in the form of a traditional Naga Morung (six feet in length, six in height and four in breadth) is being constructed at Ungma village. It will be the biggest camera ever built in Mokokchung. So far the response has been great with a lot of young people showing interest in the Mokokchung Visual Diary photography workshop. And perhaps, after two weeks the world will see a different picture of Mokokchung through visual diary uploaded by the participants of the workshop.

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