News Recognition

Photographers Deepti Asthana,  Sutirtha Chatterjee, Santanu Dey, and Debsuddha Banerjee | 6×6 Talents 2020 World Press Photo | Source Internet

Four Indian Photographers recognized by World Press Photo

World Press Photo, launched their 6×6 Talent Program in August 2017. Each full cycle of the 6×6 program focuses on one region at a time and takes two years to highlight work from each of the six regions. The purpose is to recognize six visual storytellers from six global regions, to highlight talent from around the world, and present stories with diverse perspectives. The 6 regional categories are Southeast Asia and Oceania, South America, Europe, Africa, North and Central America, and Asia.

For each region, an international community of nominators puts forward visual storytellers that deserve larger recognition for their work. From the nominees’ submitted portfolios, a selection committee picks six visual storytellers to join the pool of the 6×6 Program’s talents from around the world. Salil Bera, India, deputy photo editor, The Week, Tanvi Mishra, India, photo editor, curator, writer, and creative director, The Caravan, Sudipto Das, India, staff photographer, The Times of India, and, independent photographers Saumya Khandelwal, Ritayan Mukherjee, and Showkat Nanda are part of the selection committee. It is worth noting here that, none of the selection committee members are from the Southern Part of India. World Press Photo does accept nomination suggestions as well as self-nominations, which can be done here.

The 6×6 program is not a contest, but a way to highlight emerging talent around the world. There are no categories, and the six individuals from each region are not ranked or awarded individual prizes. Instead, their work is recognized, published, and shared with World Press Photo’s global audience. 6×6 talents’ work will be exhibited and published on the World Press Photo Foundation’s platforms, including their online magazine Witness. 6×6 talents are also nominated for World Press Photo’s prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass, provided they meet the nomination criteria.

WPP announced the results of the second cycle, 6 new talents from Asia that includes four Indians, Debsuddha Banerjee; Deepti Asthana; Santanu Dey, and Sutirtha Chatterjee. The other two recognition goes to Mengwen Cao, China, and Parisa Azadi. In 2018, Senthil Kumaran, an independent visual storyteller from South India, and New Delhi based Saumya Khandelwal, who is now a part of the nomination team were recognized as 6×6 young talents.

A Thousand Thorns © Deepti Ashthna | Source Internet

Deepti Asthana is a self-taught photographer based in Mumbai, India. She worked in IT companies in Delhi and Mumbai, India, and in the United Kingdom before making a career switch to photography. Her work focuses on telling the stories of Indian women, “which have been overshadowed for too long,” she says.  Deepti’s A Thousand Thorns follows Pushpa and Pushta, two young women working as forest guards — a typically male-dominated occupation — in the arid region of the Thar desert, in Rajasthan, India. Pushpa, a 25-year-old mother, lost her husband in an accident. Recently married Pushta is 26 years old and following two miscarriages is chastised for not producing a male heir. Rajasthan has the lowest literacy rate among women in India and child marriage is still prevalent. Women are seen as the keepers of the honor of families and communities and for this reason, are often denied opportunities available to men. Patriarchy defines daily life and access to resources. However, as education and technology permeate rural India, the aspirations of women are changing. Through the story of Pushpa and Pushta, the photographer aims to highlight how women across India are challenging gender-defined roles. Fighting their way through the patriarchal clutches of rural Rajasthan, these women — along with many others in villages across India — are subtly asserting their right to equality.

Belonging © Debsuddha Banerjee 2020 | Source Internet

Debsuddha Banerjee is an independent photographer based in India. Banerjee’s Belonging, initiated in 2020, explores the companionship and psychological struggles of sisters Swati and Gayatri Goswami. The photographer’s elderly, unmarried aunts, who lead socially isolated lives due to the discrimination they face based on their skin color, have been further isolated from their surroundings by enforced government measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Having observed their struggles since childhood, Banerjee’s personal visual study shows the sisters’ growing dependency on each other and the impacts of isolation on their mental health.

Lost Legacy © Santanu Dey | Source Internet

Santanu Dey is a visual artist and independent photographer based in Calcutta, India. His work often moves along the intersection of art, documentary, and attempts to dive deep into mythology, cultural narratives, and socio-political issues. Santanu Dey’s  Lost Legacy explores the social and political condition of the descendants of the Zamindars in the decolonization period of independent India. During British colonial rule in India, the Zamindari System was introduced under the Permanent Settlement Act in 1793. The system rewarded Zamindars as landowners who rented their land to farmers in return for paying a fixed amount to the British Government, facilitating the wealth and power of the colonial rule while exploiting peasants. The Zamindari Abolition Act in 1950, was one of the first major agrarian reforms of the Government of India following independence in 1947. Overnight, the status of this privileged class of society was reduced to that of ordinary citizens.

Mysterious Forest © Sutrija Chatterjee | Source Internet

Sutirtha Chatterjee is a freelance photographer based in Calcutta, India. Chatterjee’s The Mysterious Forest is a series of images exploring a fictional story created in collaboration with visually impaired students from West Bengal, India. The photographer first met partially blind siblings, Reema and Ashraful, on an editorial assignment in 2016 at a blind school in Calcutta, India. Working together, they visually illustrated a story written by Ashraful, inspired by one of his recurring dreams in which a boy loses his way in a forest and meets a forest spirit (Pari) with whom he goes on adventures. The role of the Pari is played by Reema, his sister, while Ashraful portrays the lost boy protagonist. “According to local folklore, the Pari in one world is a spirit in another. What they both have in common is a fondness for water and bright flowers,” said Chatterjee. The Mysterious Forest shows the fears, hopes, and fantasies of the visually impaired, aiming to facilitate the students’ self-expression, inspire sensitivity, and challenge the stigma and stereotypes surrounding blindness in the region.