Curated by Prajna Desai.

Memory is the overarching theme of FOCUS 2017. Our Call For Entries exhibition will take a deeper look into this theme, and explore ‘Autobiography As Memory’. Read on for more details…

Autobiography and biography have been photography’s oldest friends. The earliest photographs were attempts to create memories or stories about people, places, and changing times. In a way, they were also stories of the photographers themselves, whose preferences were revealed in how they posed their sitters and their choice of lighting, time of day, and place. One could say, that photographers were using photography to insert fiction into true stories. They were complicating what is real with what is made up through their own particular points of views. This push and pull between what is displayed and what is concealed is what makes autobiography such a fascinating and complex photographic pursuit even today.

FOCUS 2017 calls on photographers of diverse backgrounds and interests to revisit this definition and explore what autobiography means today, in an age when technology has made it possible for millions to tell their stories. Is autobiography a way to tell an alternative history? Can autobiography and biography reveal the hidden? How do personal stories of people and communities tell larger stories about a major historical event? How does manipulation extract new stories from archival pictures of historical figures? Can new biographies deliver justice years after the fact? These are only some of the possibilities of autobiography as a means to document our lives, which often include the lives of others.

Whatever your choice of instrument and technology, from compact cameras, DSLRs, and Mirrorless devices, to large formats, rangefinders, your beloved camera phone, and even light sensitive surfaces that favour cameraless techniques or DIY camera obscuras that you might build and use to experiment with the future of photography, we invite you to share your take with us. A famous novelist has said: We tell ourselves stories in order to live. FOCUS 2017 asks you to consider: We make ourselves photographs in order to live better.

Click here for list of selected photographers.


Exhibition Jury:

Pa. Madhavan, Executive Director of the Goa Center for Alternative photography (Goa-CAP).
Yasufumi Nakamori, Curator of photography and new media, Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Brian Sholis, Curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Agnès Sire, Director of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris.