In Arko Datto’s sights |

New Delhi, December 8 He graduated with an MA in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics and was on his way to a PhD in Theoretical Sciences before making the ‘leap of faith’ in photography. The themes and narratives he picks up on may be diverse migration, surveillance in the digital panopticon, endangered islands, nocturnal kingdoms, and the psychosomatic stress of captive animals … but what remains constant in his work is not only a deep sense of investigation but also awe that never leaves its footprints.

And now one of the most famous photographers of contemporary India, Arko Datto is ready to work on the final program of his film “Picnic”. “I’ve been shooting for five years and it will be ready next year. It’s an experimental test film, I wouldn’t say it’s a documentary but it’s in the genre of performative documentary. pretty excited, “he says.

In addition to this, Datto, winner of the 2005 World Press Photo Award, is working on a large project for National Geographic magazine for which he has traveled across the country, examining various aspects of renewable energy, the sustainable future and the climate change.

“This is the kind of big commitment that has been part of my life for a few months and will continue into the future,” says the photographer, including the two monographs (“PicNik” and “Will My Mannequin Be Home When I Return “) were published in 2018.

For this Kolkata-based artist, photography is his way of understanding the world, of discovering it, and finally of brooding and bringing out his thoughts, his ideas and his understanding of the situations around us.

“This art form is the means by which I engage with the world. When I was doing physics and math, I wasn’t able to do as much. I’m someone who loves being outdoors, somebody. ‘one who engages with people, societies, cultures, politics,’ says Datto who insists that his field of study is Indian literature, film and classical music, sculptures and installations of ‘spaces that remain like a constellation in his mind, well beyond the simple domain of photography.

It is also certain that he would not change his school career even if he had the opportunity given his practice and even curations are inspired by his understanding of physics and mathematics.

One of the curators of the third edition of the Chennai Photo Biennale, Datto believes that, while in the recent past, many photography festivals and biennials have mushroomed in India and the subcontinent, the euphoria has kind of extinguished the enthusiasm, the sustainability when it comes to creating festivals year after year has died out.

“This is precisely why I think that a space like the Chennai Photo Biennale is important because despite the many difficulties they encountered, they were able to continue. It is an important space that allows practitioners to come together to discuss their understanding and significance of what photography means in this contemporary and ever-changing world, and more importantly, the engagement and role of the art form in society, and also in relation other arts. ”

This year’s theme is ‘Maps of Concerned’, which will fundamentally aim to raise awareness of the social, environmental and technological demands of life.

Interestingly, the basic principle of the artist’s practice has always been to work on several themes simultaneously rather than just one. “I work on these projects in the very long term and therefore each project is a commitment on the space. I don’t want to exhaust myself working on one project for too long and prefer to switch between them to keep a feeling of freshness in But, I work on different projects that have different timelines. For example, for ‘Rail Diwali’, I shot every year for those specific five days during Kali Puja Diwali for this project. While working on climate change, this would involve working mainly during the monsoon seasons. A project like “Picnic” would usually take place during the winter months – December or January.

I kind of created my projects in a way that now that I’m always working on something or the other and never have a moment of inactivity. Of course, I also worded it so that in the warmer months I take a break. I usually teach or you would see me catch up on my readings, films, photographs, education, etc.

He doesn’t particularly decide on a theme and is always in a constant process of engaging with news, social media, technology, film, photography, or the other arts. “I always kind of try to come up with new ideas, processing a lot of information at the same time. Usually there is a strong curiosity, so I go away and embark on something that maybe becomes a project. There have been a lot of projects that have also failed. There were some good projects that I had to give up because they were starting to lack potential. But I also work on them in different ways. They start out as photography projects but eventually evolve into other things. For example, ‘Picnic’ started off as a photography project, now it’s an experimental film project. “

He is also working on a cinematographic sculptural installation work. His project on dinosaurs, which is a socio-political project called “Dinos of Hindustan”, in addition to photography also involves a lot of creative writing as well as sculptural installations. “I was also working on a project called ‘Pandemic Pooja Experience’ which has a photographic project component and there is also an experimental film using a thermal camera. So it’s always in a constant state of flux.”

For a very long time, Datto stayed away from Instagram as it is a natural space for photographers keen to promote their work. “Instagram as a way to promote one’s own work or to look at photography doesn’t work for me. But gradually, I entered the platform in a different way. Right now I have five Instagram accounts four of which are project pages. For me it’s a kind of incubation lab where you can make the platform a creative component or a creative partner in the way you can see a project instead of just promoting your project or your photography ” , concludes Datto.

Disclaimer: This article was posted automatically from an agency feed without any text changes and has not been reviewed by an editor

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