EtP also organised an exhibition series broadly titled ‘Photography and Beyond’. The series had three solo shows, ‘on THE ROAD’ by Ganeshbabu Chembayil, ‘Palmyra’ by Christian Uhlmann and ‘Sema’, by Abul Kalam Azad. Eminent writers, publishers, art enthusiasts, historians and local public have visited these shows. EtP yearly newsletter ‘Photo Mail’ was released on December 7, 2014. Artist Shibu Natesan released the first copy and leading playback singer Shahabaz Aman received the first copy. Project 365 photographers, artists and local public joined the occasion.
The year-long project was officially concluded in the month of August 2015. The twenty five photographers have created more than three thousand photographs of this ancient town. The diversity of the collectively created project 365 public photo-archive is paramount, which has a collection of photographs of people, landscape, architecture and lifestyle of Tiruvannamalai. Diversified analogue / digital photographic techniques like large format analogue photography, painted photographs and smart phone devices have been used. The print archive also includes palladium, serigraphy and cyanotype prints.
The strength of the project is the collective consciousness generated by the team, who come from diversified background, experiences, exposures and interests. The independent photographers, are very different and have their own unique styles and approaches. However, as a collective, they weave a comprehensive visual narrative, which can only be perceived when seen as a whole.
The EtP team is currently planning a photo-book and an exhibition. The launch exhibition is being planned in Tiruvannamalai itself. Photographs are usually taken and exhibited in urban galleries / art spaces or shown to potential buyers, and sold or stored for selling. Photographs of rural India often becomes exaggerated exotic representations, created specifically to cater the needs of urban and International buyers and audience. Photographers rarely get the opportunity to show their photographs to a regional audience. Often, the one who is photographed never knows what the photographer does with the photographs. But in Project 365, photographs of a town are collectively taken, shared with the residents of the town, and more than that, the prints are planned to exhibited here itself and later preserved as a local visual treasure.
This is indeed a great move towards re-positioning art as the symbol of one’s culture and the pioneering collective movement, inspite of all the challenges, has reached the next milestone. As the team awaits the announcement of the second phase, it is time to acknowledge and celebrate the energy and effort of the entire team in successfully completing the first phase. Hats off, Project 365 Photographers !!!