Appreciating Work at Exhibits


After attending numerous exhibitions and photo festivals, I am still unable to appreciate or connect with the work being showcased. What should I do?

Answer by: Chandan Gomes, Photographer and Educator

In this day and age of the internet, where information can easily be confused with knowledge, a qualitative approach to photographic study and research is the need of the hour. In the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in the number of photography festivals, across the country. Having said that, I am not too sure how beneficial it is to visit a number of photography festivals in a single calendar year. A photographer has to back his/her theoretical knowledge with actual work in the field. If there is a gap between theory and practice, then there is a strong chance that sooner or later, the photographer will be fatigued visiting these festivals, or looking at work on the internet.

The only way I think such a fatigue can be addressed constructively is by making work on a regular basis. The more photographs you make, the more questions, doubts and confusions you will face; the more you would want to know, see and understand. And that is how you will build a critical eye and a thinking mind that will enable you to absorb the most at festivals and exhibitions. But more importantly, it will enable you to differentiate between information and knowledge. The latter is something that you need.

This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Better Photography.