Incredible India @ 60

India's 60th anniversary of independence is being observed with a week-long celebration in New York City starting today, Sunday September 23rd. The celebrations are sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and India's Ministry of Tourism, as well as other Indian entities.

Among the events is an exhibit of photographs by Steve McCurry at the Bryant Park Hotel (40 West 40th Street in NYC). I attended the opening event on the hotel's 25th floor this morning, and came out of the exhibit with a sense of disappointment and dejection...and here's why...

I would think that the Government of India should use the celebration of its independence from foreign colonialism by promoting its own artists. It is true that Steve McCurry is a talented and famous photographer, and perhaps that will come as a shock to the Ministry of Tourism, but he is not Indian. Why can't the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture exhibit photographic works by young emerging Indian photographers, instead of McCurry's? Why can't these unimaginative bureaucrats shrug off their inertia and promote indigenous talent? I know of a dozen of Indian photographers who would be proud -and thrilled- to exhibit their work in New York City. If the bureaucrats wanted established glitz and fame instead of promoting young talent, why not exhibit Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh then? I just don't understand the logic. Why can't the Indian Ministries of Culture and Tourism give their emerging and talented photographers a break...rather than promoting those who are already at the peak of their careers and who hardly need the exposure.

To celebrate India's 60th as an independent nation, TTP will post over the coming week the work of emerging and unknown photographers from India. If India's bureaucrats do not have the imagination to promote them, I shall.

That being said, I attended the exhibit that consisted of about 25 photographs by McCurry. All of these were of Indian scenes and portraits...most of which have been already published in one way or the other. There's no question that the photographs are beautiful...but that's hardly the point I'm making. McCurry himself was giving an interview to a TV station at the time, so I didn't get a chance to shake his hand. Had he been an emerging talented Indian photographer, I would've waited until he was finished.

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