The Brochure Archive of Photography Exhibition was put together in a span of 7 years as part of an individual’s hobby. It lacks a formal structure which is important to validate it as an important archival storehouse of photography related materials.
To create a structure around the archive and help preserve it in a systematic method as well as to record facts procured from the brochures as an aid to Researchers, Galleries and Photography Institutions.
This initiative will expedite the process of locating specific data from among the huge mass of information available as well as document socio cultural changes that affected photographic techniques of the past and present.
Voice of our well wishers:
These are some excerpts from e-mails and letters we have received from various people worldwide.
“This is a very interesting project you are doing…I have followed this collection for sometime & he even shared a huge database of photographers with us…”
– Madhavan Pillai, Editor, Better Photography (Magazine) ,India.
“I’m curious as to how & why you took on this tremendous project? … I’m amazed at how much breadth a project like this could generate. It would be fascinating to see the
– Kim Hanninen, Registrar,Dennos Museum Center,USA.
“Like me, they (the selection committee of LOOK07) are impressed by the range and quality of your collection”
“I had a further thought with regards to your possibility setting up a Flickr site to display your collection. As chairman for LOOK07 I shall be happy support your worthwhile work by sponsoring a Pro account for you. Let me know if this will help”
– John Perivolaris, Photographer & Chairman of LOOK07,UK.
“As promised! I will keep collecting for you. Hope these give you pleasure + add well to your collection.”
– Joey Bieber, Photographer,UK.
I am a serious hobbyist in photography and am interested in it since childhood. Since the time I could go out alone, I tried not to miss any photographic exhibition held in my city Calcutta, India. In 2002, I went to Japan for a couple of weeks and after I came back, I asked a photographer friend, Joydeep Chaudhuri, if I had missed any exhibitions while I traveled. He gave me 2 brochures and said the exhibitions were fantastic. I was able to catch a glimpse of at least some photographs exhibited in those exhibitions from the brochures. I realized then that this was a fascinating aspect and dug up some old brochures that I had collected before. Since then, I started collecting these brochures locally along with my wife Ipsita who got hooked as well.
We started taking serious interest in this collection from 2004. A painstaking process of searching and noting names or contact details of photographers from books, magazines, internet, word of mouth, etc began. Each day, we still spend 3-4 hours on the internet to look up each photographer by name, name of exhibitions, name of galleries or organizations. We are only able to contact them through e-mail and not by telephone due to financial constraints. We now have more than 2000 brochures from across the world on various subjects. We used to keep all the brochures in big boxes before. However, to give our collection some structure, we now have temporarily archived some of them in folders with serial numbers and keep them at home.
We don’t have any commercial purpose for creating this collection. All we want is to share our treasure with people for research or self-development and the development of Photography. As far as we know, we are the only people in the world who collect these brochures on such a scale. We are the only ones who are recording this for posterity. Exhibitions are a dream of each photographer where he/she tries to showcase his/her ideas and talent. In a way, it is their identity that they try to put forth in their photographic work. We are also preserving their work for posterity.
Rules of the Collection
To give the archive more structure, we have made a set of criterion for brochure selection. They are;
- There should be at least one photograph printed on the Brochure.
- The Venue and Date of the exhibition & name of the photographer/s must be mentioned in it. (Sometimes, when it is obvious that its an brochure of an exhibition, we accept the entry without this specification)
- The entry should be original (Sometimes, when we ask for a brochure, people send us a photocopy or a digital file of the same as an email attachment. We do not accept a photocopy or soft copy of the original brochure.)
- The brochure may be a folder, postcard, flyer or invitation card without any staples or binding.
- It must have no commercial value attached to it. (Most of the photographers don’t know us. It’s unfair to ask for a copy that has a commercial value when we cannot afford to pay for it. So, we always ask for a copy that is free of cost.)
We also have a set of criterion for the usage of these brochures that people have contributed. They are;
- We do not use the photo of the cards & brochures for any commercial returns. In any circumstance, we won’t use the photo or brochure for commercial purposes like sale or auctions. However, we will be able to give you the contact details of the photographer/ gallery/ organizers if you need to get in touch with them for any commercial reasons that will benefit both of you.
- For research or making a catalogue of the archive or for promotional purposes, we may use a photo of the entire brochure with due credit.
- Usually a card or brochure contains contact information of the photographer & gallery. This collection is therefore is a huge database of valuable contacts/leads. If anyone asks for this information, like photo agency, galleries, photo galleries, etc., we will provide it.
How it can add value…
Because a maximum of brochures contain details of the exhibition, photographs, a brief description of the collection displayed or the work of the photographer so far along with the contact details of the photographer, our archive acts as a database of numerous things related to photography worldwide.
For student photographers and trainers/facilitators, this collection is a storehouse of photographing techniques that students can learn by observation. All the brochures in this collection have at least one photograph in them and a brief synopsis of the photographer’s technique. This collection can actually act as a student’s reference or guide document and trainers/facilitators can use this to place a point of substance.
For creative designers, this collection is a great study in brochure design as it archives decades of trends in the same. From 1970’s to today, the designs have undergone a sea change. This can also be used to predict future trends.
For researchers in socio-cultural lifestyle and behavior patterns, this collection is not only a reservoir of behavioral patterns but also is a reflection of times in the past, present and future. It is also interesting to study places, people and geographies in changing times to compare and contrast evolution as civilized societies or even in the wild.
Photo agencies can benefit immensely as the collection houses the contact details of photographers, galleries, photo studios etc along with a brief portfolio of their work. This can help them not only trace potential customers or contributors, but also select different work streams they desire.
For researches in photography, this collection is an indispensable database of chronologically available information on the evolution of photography.
There can be many more potential uses of this collection. To take a look at the collection will give you ideas of different ways this collection can be a value-add. We have only been able to list a few that came to our mind now.
If you search “Brochure Archive of Photography Exhibition” on Google, you will get 42,100 search results as of 5th June 2009. Most of them are posts that we have made while scouting for prospective contributors. That may give you an idea of the number of website we have scourged and the number of mails we have sent as well in this effort.
- An article in the June 2009 issue of Better Photography,India’s leading photography magazine.
- An article in the 2007 Monsoon issue of “Photography Charcha”, A Bengali photography magazine published inKolkata,India
You can either see things or are influenced to see things. Photography is all about the eye. This collection is an attempt to inspire many people to research, learn, emulate and be inspired from the treasure house of photographers and their photographs be it the past, present or may be the future.
We would like to thank all the contributors for their belief in the collection and the time they have accorded to it.
There were many such organizations, galleries and photographers who did not have any brochures in particular to contribute. However, we want to thank them for wishing us well.
We would also like to thank all those who have helped us get this collection to the stature that it has reached. We are grateful to the Indian Postal Service, Postal services from around the world, Courier agents from around the world for delivering the packages sent by our contributors on time and without much damage.
The team at Better Photography Magazine, especially Madhavan Pillai –Editor; Fawzan Husain– a renowned photojournalist; John Perivolaris – Chairman LOOK07 (Photography Festival), UK; Joey Bieber– Photographer, UK; Dr Unni Krishnan Pulikkal – Director, The Butterfly Art Foundation, India. Without all your help, direction and words of encouragement, it would have been difficult for us to proceed.
Udayan Sankar Pal
Archive of Photography Exhibition
3-122/5 Adarsha Nagar