The Story Of PhotoFlare’10
PhotoFlare’10: An event that was the talk of the town in Goa amongst the Photography enthusiasts, this April. For 2 days, 10th & 11th April, 2010, the who’s who of goan photography circuit were seen at the Sunaparanta Goa Centre For the Arts at Altinho, being a part of PhotoFlare. The response and feedback received was overwhelming. For an event to generate this kind of hype, response and expectation in its inaugural year, that too, organised by a club that isn’t even a year old, is no mean feat. But how did this all happen? Where did it all start?
PhotoFlare started out as an idea in the minds of few of our club members. Our objectives were simple—To organise an international event that would bring together, the best of international photography through various workshops, lectures and a competition. Through this event, we also hoped to give exposure to GEC Photography Club and its members. And thus, PhotoFlare was born.
Our Graphics team came up with an attractive sponsorship brochure and a website to match. our site-www.photoflare.org- was to be the main pillar of PhotoFlare. From telling people about the competition, to announcing the rules and the actual process of accepting entries, everything was supposed to be done via this website. And it did all that and more, beautifully.
The process of getting sponsors also started simultaneously. We had a few hits and a few misses. Regal electronics were our 1st breakthrough, followed by Goa Tourism, CMYK academy and others. In the end, we had enough sponsors to organize a successful event.
The competition was the focal point of PhotoFlare. From the beginning, the competition was open to all, irrespective of age or nationality. Entries were invited under four themes-Reflections, Aim for Colours, Life by Night and Candid. Entries were accepted throughout the month of March. The process for submitting entries was given on our site. But the word had to be gotten out. This is where the marketing kicked in. We relied upon both-traditional and non-traditional forms of marketing. Attractive posters were put up in strategic locations in key places and college campuses. Posters were also displayed in the lounge of Inox Multiplex, they being one of our sponsors. PhotoFlare pages were created on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. Forums were started on sites like Betterphotography.in and chip.in to tell people about the event. Meanwhile, the club members continued publicizing the event via their social networking profiles and blogs. The event was also listed in the event listing section of Times of India’s Goa edition. Navhind Times also featured article about the event. Smses were effectively used to send updates regarding PhotoFlare, thanks to our sms sponsor oneby0.com. Publicity was also done via the TV and Radio media via our sponsors, Goa365 and BIG92.7fm respectively.
All this effort paid off and the competition received an overwhelming response. In all, we received 375 entries. Being located in Goa, a large number of entries were from here. But notably, we received many entries from all around the world, like from west Bengal, New Delhi and Rajasthan from India, to Australia, and the UAE. Due to popular demand, the deadline had to be extended by 24hours.
In the end, we had a large collection of excellent photos to choose from .The difficult task of choosing the winners lay with our panel of judges, Mr.Prasad Pankar of CMYK academy, and Mr.Rajtilak Naik from Times Of India. In all, 40 photos, 10 from each category, were chosen to be displayed at the exhibition. Also, one winner was chosen from each category.
The exhibition was the showcase event of PhotoFlare. It was held in the beautiful environs of Sunaparanta at Altinho. The serene, inherently beautiful surrounding took the exhibition to a whole new level. Preparing for the exhibition was a beautiful experience. The day preceding the exhibition, our members worked hard to set-up the exhibition and create the environment for the days to come. From putting up the Photos, decorations, banners and the sponsors’ posters to handing out all the invites, the last few days were a frenzy of activities. Would the efforts pay-off? Will people come to appreciate our efforts? These were the questions at the back of our minds as we slept with anxious anticipation.
The morning of 10th April, Sunaparanta looked all set to host a 2-day photography extravaganza. We felt proud wearing our PhotoFlare T-shirts(sponsored by Carasid’s).All the efforts, jubilations and preparations came down to this day.
The inauguration ceremony started at 11am at the hands of our chief guest, renowned installation artist, Mr.Subodh Kerkar, in the presence of both our judges. Amongst the audience, were the nominees of the competition. Notable was the presence of Mr.Prasanth Mohan, one of our nominees who was here all the way from kerala! The desire to be the winner was evident on their faces. The veil of secrecy was finally lifted when the winners were announced. But the excitement of their work being displayed at an exhibition was beaming from the faces of all the nominees nevertheless.
Besides the 40 nominated photos, the exhibition also featured the best photos clicked by our club members. Over the next 2 days, the exhibition was visited by over 500 guests that came from all over Goa and beyond. Considering the fact that the Gallery isn’t centrally located, this number is impressive. Some of the luminaries amongst our guests included Mr.Deep Pai, founder of photographers@pune , Mr.Hanuman Kambli, renowned artist, Fr. Tamatur, principal of Don Bosco’s High School, Panjim and Mr.Manguirish Pai Raikar of the Goa Chamber Of Commerce besides many others. The exhibition was very well received and the photos, much appreciated. The comments in the visitors book bear a testimony to this fact.
Workshops & Lectures
2 workshops and a lecture was organised as a part of PhotoFlare. The 1st workshop on Night Photography was conducted by Mr.Akhil Sinai Khandeparkar on the evening of 10th April. In this workshop, the participants were introduced to the new world of Light Painting. This workshop continued till 9.30pm and the participants had a great time.
The 2nd workshop, workshop on creative use of Outdoor lighting was conducted by Mr.Dattaram Gawade in the morning of 11th April. In this workshop, participants learned the art of creatively using the natural light available while photographing outdoors. Mr.Gawade’s experience showed repeatedly throughout the workshop.
The lecture titled ‘Story Behind the Click’ was delivered by Mr.Suresh Kulkarni, an Electronics enthusiast with a long experience in working with cameras. Through the lecture, the participants got an insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of a camera. It was astounding to know the number of processes that take place between the press of a button and the capture of an image, all within a fraction of a second!
All the workshops and lectures were very well attended. Many of the participants expressed their desire to attend more such workshops. Besides learning a lot in the process, everyone had a great time. When else do you get interact face-to-face with skilled industry professionals, that too free-of-cost?
All in all, PhotoFlare’10 was a great experience, for us organizers, for the participants and for all those who attended it. The event helped spread the word about GEC Photography Club. The lessons we learnt in the process were invaluable. If nothing more, the event was a triumph of Internet Social Networking. Never before had social media been used so effectively in Goa, to spread the word about an event.Many people expressed their desire to join our club, which we had to unfortunately and unwillingly decline, ours being a college club.
We could not have done this alone. From the beginning, we received tremendous support from our faculty, the Goa Engineering College, our friends and family. The coverage from the media was very helpful. Mr.Prasad Pankar’s and Mr.Akhil Khandeparkar's support was invaluable. So was the assistance given by the people at Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts. Most importantly, the huge response we received was very inspiring.
The event is now over and the compliments are pouring in from all around. The following is one of them.
“Something's telling me that PHOTOFLARE's gonna be a HUGE event in the years to come. I truly appreciate GEC photography club n its members for their sincere effort.. Congrats again on it's success....
Feels great to have been a part of it...”-Prasad Pankar
The accolades like above have only humbled us. We know we have taken the expectations to a whole new height. We have set a benchmark this year. We only hope we will exceed expectations next year. Thanks a lot for all the support. Keep Clicking!
(update: hey i forgot to mention about the improptu, unplanned events we had. on day 1, we had a informal session on canon hacked firmware upgrades by Ashwin Shukla. A student himself, Ashwin told us about CHDK, a open source firmware project using which u can boost the capabilities of ur existing Canon camera.
We also had a chat session with Deep Pai, founder member of Photographers@Pune a club wit over 1500 members!!)