Framed For Good!

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Every year, the Fondation Alliance Française organizes an international photography competition via its network of Alliances Françaises around the world. For the 5th edition of the photo contest, the Fondation Alliance Française chose the theme Climat, état d’urgence i.e. Climate, State of Emergency to coincide with the twenty-first conference on climate change, more commonly known as COP21 that France hosted from 30 November to 11 December 2015.

105 Alliances Françaises from 43 different countries participated in this edition of the competition. It is our pleasure to note that Dipayan Bhar who was representing Alliance Française du Bengale brought home the second prize for the same. A brief interview with him is reproduced below.

Dipayan Bhar, Winner of the second prize at the International Photography Competition organized by the  Fondation Alliance Française

Dipayan Bhar, Winner of the second prize at the International Photography Competition organized by the Fondation Alliance Française

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?  

DB: Hello, my name is Dipayan Bhar and I am from Kolkata. I work in a pharmaceutical company as a medical representative. Currently, I pursue photography alongside my job. However, I would like to pursue it as a full-time career as it is my passion.  In 2014, I won the 3rd national photography award (special mention, professional category) in a competition organised by the Photo Division of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the photo seen here. I have also won the title of the Young Environmental Photographer of the year 2015 for the photo “Families are living under the bridge” in a competition organized by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management in the UK.

Dipayan Bhar Families are living under the bridge

“Families are living under the bridge” by Dipayan Bhar, Winner of the Young Environmental Photographer of the year 2015. Competition organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, UK

Apart from these, I won the second prize in the photography competition #OurClimate organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the prestigious PHOTO magazine for the photo “Effects of Climate Change” which was displayed in the World Climate Summit, 2015 in Paris. For the 2015 edition of the International Photography Competition organized by the Fondation Alliance Française in Paris, I won the 2nd prize. I had participated via the Alliance Française du Bengale for the same.

How did you hear about the competition and why did you choose to participate?

DB: Before the competition, I hadn’t really heard about the Fondation Alliance Française. I had never even learnt French. One day, when I went to purchase a camera in a shop called Camerina in Kolkata, I saw a poster of the competition put up by the the Alliance Française du Bengale. I immediately decided to participate because I wanted to show the people of the world the necessity of judicious energy consumption.

Can you tell us something about each of the photos? Where were they taken and what were were you hoping to convey?

DB: Both the photos capture intimate, slice-of-life moments. In one photograph, we can see a poor boy studying with the help of potato biomass electricity at night. His grandmother is teaching him. The electricity produced using potato biomass is a sustainable source of energy. This is one of the many small, local solutions with which we can save natural resources and prevent global warming.

“Study with the help of potato biomass” by Dipayan Bhar. Winner of the second prize at the International Photography Competition organized by the Fondation Alliance Française

The second photo was captured at a critical moment. In it we can see a family stuck in a heavily water-logged area with no access to clean, drinking water. All the taps in the area were already submerged under water when the photo was taken. The boy in the photo was drinking the last few drops of drinking water available for the family. It was meant to capture the urgency of the situation and the need to take immediate action.

“A Family” by Dipayan Bhar. Winner of the second prize at the International Photography Competition organized by the Fondation Alliance Française

How relevant is the theme “Climate, state of emergency” to you – both personally and on a larger scale?

DB: Climate change is, quite obviously, an emergency and an alarming situation for the planet as a whole. Using my photography, I have tried to illustrate the consequences of our selfish behavior on Mother Nature. In one of my photographs, you can see an entire family which has been displaced as a result of water logging after heavy rains. This phenomenon is increasing all around the world both in terms of magnitude and frequency, sometimes engulfing entire cities. Nothing can save us in such a situation – least of all money. Nature doesn’t accept bribes after all! In another photograph, I have depicted a relatively unknown and fairly cheap way of electricity production, potato biomass, which can be developed by further experiments and can be used on a large scale to save planet earth.

How does it feel to be one of the winners of this prestigious international competition?

DB: I feel ecstatic – the competition has given me the exposure that I wanted so far! My photos were amongst the 44 images selected from all over the globe and displayed from 12 to 25 November at the Cité internationale des arts and from 30 November to 11 December on site at Paris-Le Bourget during COP21. What more could one ask for!

To conclude, in your opinion how effective is photography as an instrument for bringing about social change?

DB: I think every person in this world loves to see photographs, be it of a person or of a place. In fact, children prefer to read books with photos in them. Photographs help us to imagine. Hence, to highlight this issue, I don’t think there was any other medium apart from photography to explain the dangerous future towards which we are heading. Seeing all these photos sent by the various participants will help the viewers imagine their future to an extent. I hope that some of us will try to develop alternative ways of producing electricity like the one I have depicted in one of my photographs. I am happy to have contributed in my own small way towards saving Nature.

Siddharth BHATT (Rédaction AF Magazine Inde-Népal)

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Rédaction

Directeur de publication : Délégation Générale de la Fondation Alliance Française en Inde et au Népal

Rédacteur en chef : Laurent Elisio Bordier

Rédacteur/Coordinateur national : Siddharth Bhatt

Rédacteurs, contributeurs : Guillaume, Abhirami, Alexandre, Chintan, Cléa, David, Eleonore, Elie, Kanika, Karine, Nita, Thomas, Malvika, Marie-Joëlle, Meera, Mayuri, Mitushi, Alice, Prutha, Romain, Ritika, Manas, Supriya ...