Monday, January 11, 2016

The First Ever Instagram Exhibition in India: 5 Key Takeaways

Well, now that the press releases are out, I reckon this is the best time for me to document some of the key takeaways from the first ever Instagram official exhibition of the country that was organized in Calcutta between 7th and 9th January 2016 at the ICCR. Ummm, I have always been brutally honest with all my blog-posts and this would be no exception. Alright, let's go for it.....

1. Collaboration works wonders: An universally proven fact that was validated yet again right through the various phases of this fantastic event; the short-listing, preparatory, authenticating and "freezing" phases happened efficiently and rather expeditiously because of the ingrained co-ordination between Team Facebook, Instagram,, Streets of Calcutta and Calcutta Instagrammers. Without being based, I firmly believe that collaborating with local photo-enthusiastic communities was a key master-stroke in the entire scheme of things. The regular sharing knowledge, expertise, "regional know-how" and cross-linking of the popularity quotient did cumulatively add up and scripted an epiphany; conceivably it did create a huge buzz. The exhibition displayed the work of 15 of our esteemed community Instagrammers in association with some brilliant snaps presented by Team The fusion turned out to be very engaging indeed. Congratulations to Arpita Pramanick for being the only female Instagrammer from our community to be featured in this historic exhibition.

2. Diversity has an ingrained order: I firmly believe that Instagram, as a platform, gives you enough opportunity to express your intrinsic multifariousness in content- this could be either in form of your genre of photography or in form of spirited representation, the Instagram audience does appreciate this variety. Umm, well yes, drawing a close congruity, the first ever official Instagram exhibition was a true manifestation indeed. I have been attending photo-exhibitions/meets across the country, and it's not an over-statement when I say that this was an exceptional medley of prodigious stills. I'm perhaps not qualified enough to judge the quality of the images displayed, but without a doubt the inner foundation was very strong indeed. Yes, my friend, amidst the peripheral cover of heterogeneity and divergence reflecting in the images on display, there was a strong backbone of visual concord - these were handpicked images from the depths of Bengal.

3. Instagram is the other name for spontaneity: How often do you see a bunch of enthusiastic youngsters flocking in, clicking selfies, groufies, sharing a joke or two at presumably one of the most prestigious and celebrated venues of the city? I reckon, we all know the answer. This is what I love about Instagram and it's community in each and every part of the globe; it's the fun quotient...the exuberance factor that this platform brings on to the forum. I bet this was presumably the rowdiest of all events that have been ever organized at the ICCR, and I absolutely love this. Photography is something that people enjoy doing, and if an Instagram exhibition can bring in those like-minded people on a single platform, it's indeed a win-win situation. Congratulations to Team Facebook and Team Instagram for adding the "quotient of effervescence"; it's definitely a value-addition.

4. Social media check-ins: I'd have to scroll through the official records to quote these stats, but from what I gather, I haven't seen so many social media check-ins at the ICCR, Calcutta in course of single event for all these years. Apparently, the highest count was recorded on the 9th January 2016 with around 27 Check-ins floating on my Facebook timeline alone in the span of 8 hours of the exhibition; also perhaps the most number of organic Geo-tags at ICCR, Calcutta on Instagram. These are staggering stats because this includes people of various age-groups; and of course people who do not even have an Instagram account. I was astonished to know that people knew me through my Instagram/Twitter handle, and that includes (yes, you read it right) our Chief Guest, ace quiz-master and hon. MP Mr. Derek O' Brien. It makes perfect sense when I use the term "bridge" to describe the 'impact' of this exhibition. 

5. Mixed reaction from the photography community: Er-rm, this is indeed the most interesting aspect or rather aftermath of this memorable event. It's a critical aspect too because feedback is essential in terms of improvement, augmentation and enhancement- this is again, universally true. It goes without saying that I was very very keen in terms of gauging the reactions as a follow up of this event and as expected, it did actuate mixed reactions. As the brook of appreciation kept flowing at one end, I wasn't really surprised to decipher that a section of the photographers' community in this city still considers Instagram as a dedicated platform for sharing mobile photographs; I firmly believe that this platform and it's utility needs to be explored more....and it will happen eventually. In this very perspective, this exhibition would be the stepping stone indeed, this will set the benchmark. Let me rephrase Ravi Shastri's legendary words & predicate, in the end, the art of photography is the ultimate winner.

The First Instagram Exhibition of the country: Derek O' Brein, during the inauguration
Photo courtesy: Anubhav Chatterjee
The First Instagram Exhibition of the country: Exhibits by Debarshi-da and Swaroop.
Photo courtesy: Sourodip Ghosh
The First Instagram Exhibition of the country: Team Social Bong!
From the left Moi (@Deckle_Edge), Soumya da (@ssghosal), Indrajit da (@indrajit_lahiri)
Photo courtesy: Sourodip Ghosh
The First Instagram Exhibition of the country: Naam to suna hi hoga, photu bhi dekh lo ;)
Photo courtesy: Sourodip Ghosh
The First Instagram Exhibition of the country: Yo Yo Soumyadeep takes a selfie his exhibit
Photo courtesy: Sourodip Ghosh
* The media coverage has been superb for this event. If you want to find out more about this historic event, read these fantastic articles here:- Mashable , DNA India , Indian Express , MaaMatiManushTv , Times of India, Social Samosa , Livemint etc. Do let me know your feedback in the comments section, that helps us grow. Cheers.

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