Archive for the 'Photography' Category

So many reporters, so little info on Sonia Gandhi?

22 September 2011

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, scooped by Indian Express photographer Anil Sharma, as she leaves her daughter's residence in New Delhi on 14 September 2011.

Nothing has exposed the hollowness of so-called “political reporting” in New Delhi, and the fragilility of editorial spines of newspapers and TV stations across the country, than the Congress president Sonia Gandhi‘s illness.

Hundreds of correspondents cover the grand old party; tens of editors claim to be on on first-name terms with its who’s who; and at least a handful of them brag and boast of unbridled “access” to 10 Janpath.

Yet none had an inkling that she was unwell.

Or, worse, the courage to report it, if they did.

Indeed, when the news was first broken by the official party spokesman in August, he chose the BBC and the French news agency AFP as the media vehicles instead of the media scrum that assembles for the daily briefing.

Sonia Gandhi has since returned home but even today the inability of the media—print, electronic or digital—to throw light on just what is wrong with the leader of India’s largest political party or to editorially question the secrecy surounding it, is palpable.

Given the hospital she is reported to have checked into, the bazaar gossip on Sonia has ranged from cervical cancer to breast cancer to pancreatic cancer but no “political editor” is willing to put his/her name to it.

About the only insight of Sonia’s present shape has come from an exclusive photograph shot by Anil Sharma of The Indian Express last week.

In a counter-intuitive sort of way, Nirupama Subramanian takes up the silence of the media in The Hindu:

“That the Congress should be secretive about Ms Gandhi’s health is not surprising. What is surprising, though, is the omertà being observed by the news media, usually described by international writers as feisty and raucous.

“On this particular issue, reverential is the more fitting description. Barring editorials in the Business Standard and Mail Today, no other media organisation has thought it fit to question the secrecy surrounding the health of the government’s de facto Number One.

“A similar deference was on display a few years ago in reporting Atal Bihari Vajpayee‘s uneven health while he was the Prime Minister. For at least some months before he underwent a knee-replacement surgery in 2001, it was clear he was in a bad way, but no news organisation touched the subject. Eventually, the government disclosed that he was to undergo the procedure, and it was covered by the media in breathless detail.

“Both before and after the surgery, there was an unwritten understanding that photographers and cameramen would not depict Vajpayee’s difficulties while walking or standing. Post-surgery, a British journalist who broke ranks to question if the Prime Minister was fit enough for his job (“Asleep at The Wheel?” Time, June 10, 2002) was vindictively hounded by the government.

“Almost a decade later, much has changed about the Indian media, which now likes to compare itself with the best in the world. But it lets itself down again and again. The media silence on Ms Gandhi is all the more glaring compared with the amount of news time that was recently devoted to Omar Abdullah‘s marital troubles. The Jammu & Kashmir chief minister’s personal life has zero public importance. Yet a television channel went so far as to station an OB van outside his Delhi home, and even questioned the maid….

“Meanwhile, the media are clearly not in the mood to extend their kid-glove treatment of Ms Gandhi’s illness to some other politicians: it has been open season with BJP president Nitin Gadkari‘s health problems arising from his weight. Clearly, it’s different strokes for different folks.”

Read the full article: The omerta on Sonia‘s illness

Also read: Why foreign media broke news of Sonia illness

How come no one spotted Satyam fraud?

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

How come no one in the media saw the worm turn?

Aakar PatelIndian journalism is regularly second-rate

A photographer’s delight strikes again (and again)

5 August 2011

There is no other way to say this: the media will miss B.S. Yediyurappa. For three years and two months, the Karnataka chief minister was a photographer’s (and front page editor’s) dream come true, striking poses with his hands, legs, eyes, clothes and general demeanour.

(Thankfully, he has reassured us that he will be back in six months.)

There is also no other way to say this: still photography, especially news photography, is an absolute nightmare these days with television (and outsized advertisements) wrecking the scene. Rare is the photographer who manages to capture the present in a manner that might surprise posterity.

This superb frame, published by Kannada Prabha, in which Yediyurappa is adroitly pushing a laddoo into his successor D.V. Sadananda Gowda‘s mouth while simultaneously reining in his left hand and glowering at his arch-rival H.N. Ananth Kumar, is an exception.

It captures almost everything that has happened in the Karnataka BJP over the past week (and indeed in the past three years and two months, if not more), and it shows the tenuous relationships within the BJP, like perhaps no TV camera can. Or will.

Photograph: K.Ravi, courtesy Kannada Prabha

Also read: The best photos of Yediyurappa on planet earth

In the digital era, affection of the analog kind

1 July 2011

She is the doyenne of news photography in India; the country’s first woman news photographer. He is the master of magazine and feature photography.

Little wonder, when Raghu Rai met Homai Vyarawalla at the launch of a new line of digital cameras in Bombay on Thursday, it was a manna from heaven for lensmen.

Photograph: courtesy Mumbai Mirror

Also read: The woman who happily shot Nehru and Gandhi

Five photography tips from ace lensman, Raghu Rai

Roasted almonds, biscuits & tea for gang of five

30 June 2011

The prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, with the five newspaper editors he met for an interaction in New Delhi yesterday. Seated from left, clockwise, are the national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Divya Marathi editor Kumar Ketkar, Nayi Duniya editor Alok Mehta, the PM’s media advisor Harish Khare, The Tribune editor Raj Chengappa, PTI editor M.K. Razdan, Business Standard director and the president of the editors guild of India, T.N. Ninan, and PM’s secretary T.K.A. Nair.

Photographs: courtesy Press Trust of India

Also read: The preliminary transcript; The PM’s opening remarks

POLL: Is the PM right about the Indian media?

The unsung heroes who perished before J. Dey

13 June 2011

The killing of Mid-Day investigations editor J. Dey prompts Mail Today to compile a roster of journalists who have met a similar end in the line of duty. Not surprisingly, “troubled” Kashmir and the northeast account for the majority of the 31 deaths in the last 14 years.

Image: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: J. DEY: ‘When eagles are silent, parrots jabber’

The woman who happily shot Nehru and Gandhi

6 May 2011

India’s first woman photojournalist, Homai Vyarawalla—“Dalda” to her peers, “Mummy” to juniors—who was awarded the nation’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan this year, at an exhibition of her work at national gallery of modern art (NGMA), in Bangalore on Thursday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Read the coverage: The Times of India, Bangalore Mirror

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Also read: Lucky with 13, will ‘Dalda‘ get lucky at 96?

‘The Week’ photographer bags WAN-IFRA gold

3 May 2011

Bhanu Prakash Chandra, photographer with The Week magazine, with the gold award in feature photography which he bagged at the 10th annual Asia Media awards hosted by the world association of newspapers and news publishers (WAN-IFRA) in Bangkok on Thursday, 28 April.

Chandra earned the award for his pictorial travelogue of a bike journey in the Himalayas.

External reading: My photo session (with Bhanu Prakash Chandra)

Padma awards: Homai Vyarawala, T.J.S. George

25 January 2011

Last Friday, many journalists received an SMS that contained the list of names that had apparently been forwarded to the Union home ministry for consideration for the Padma awards this year.

The names: Manini Chatterjee (The Telegraph), Raj Chengappa (The Tribune), Vijay Darda (Lokmat), Arnab Goswami (Times Now), Aarti Jerath (The Times of India), Alok Mehta (Nai Dunia), Vinod Mehta (Outlook), K.S. Sachidananda Murthy (The Week), Dileep Padgaonkar (ex-Times of India), Sanjay Pugaliya (CNBC-Awaaz) and M.K. Razdan (PTI).

M.J. Akbar‘s Sunday Guardian even gave the SMS some oxygen by putting it out and a few more of its own: Barun Ganguli, Pandit Dinesh Kumar Dube and Dr Chandra Dev Pandey.

But when the Padma list came out this evening, on the eve of the 61st Republic Day, it contained none of the names that was allegedly being scrutinised by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Instead, there was India’s first woman news photographer, Homai Vyarawala, with the nation’s second highest honour, decorated with the Padma Vibhushan.

There was T.J. S. George, founder-editor of Asiaweek magazine and editorial advisor of The New Indian Express, and a best-selling author, with the Padma Bhushan.

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Homai Vyarawala: Lucky with 13, will ‘Dalda’ get lucky at 96?

T.J.S. George: Lessons for Vir and Barkha from Nikhilda

A deep mind with a straight spine who stands tall

What K.M. Mathew could teach today’s tykes

When an editor makes way for editor gracefully

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Also read: Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria gets Padma Bhushan

Third highest civilian honour for Shekhar Gupta

Padma Shri VD, Padma Shri RDS and Padma Shri BD

Why Rajdeep and Barkha must decline the Padma Sri

To get you the right angle, they sit at mad angles

13 January 2011

Newspaper photographers bend, kneel down and squat to take a bottom-up view of Infosys chief executive officer and managing director, “KrisGopalakrishnan in Bangalore on Thursday.

The IT bellwether’s third-quarter results, which were below expectations of Dalal Street, pushed down the 30-stock Bombay sensitive index, Sensex, by 350 points.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

How Dayanita Singh became a photographer

6 December 2010

The renowned photographer Dayanita Singh in an interview with Nadine Kreisberger, in the Indian Express‘ Sunday magazine, Eye:

“I was 18 and had gone to a Zakir Hussain concert. I was prevented from taking photographs by the organiser. I was angry and let Zakir know about it. He suggested I photograph him while he rehearsed the next morning. He then invited me to join him and his musicians while they travelled for a few days.

“That was it.

“I realised then that no other profession could give me freedom from social norms. But photography is just a tool. My references and inspirations come from literature, cinema and music. Photography is simply the vocabulary or medium I use to explore the world I find myself engaging with.”

Self-portrait: courtesy Peabody Museum

Also read: Pablo Bartholomew: cynical and proud of it

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