The Kashmir Photography Club inspires locals to reach their full photographic potential while providing them a platform to get global recognition.
Ab’ul Hasan Yamin Ud-din Khusrau, better known as Amir Khusrow, the renowned Sufi musician, poet and scholar, once said about Kashmir: Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast (English translation: If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this). Taking forward the essence of the Persian couplet are 200 photographers of the Kashmir Photography Club (KPC), who even as they showcase their talent through the collective, present to the world their state in its raw, ethereal beauty.
The KPC was founded by photography enthusiast Zuhaib Qureshi in 2004 as a group for local photographers to come together and display their work on social networking site Orkut. KPC migrated to Facebook in 2005. Little did Qureshi know his club would soon grow beyond all expectations.
Three years later, Sair Mir joined KPC as an admin. The valley saw a boom in photography hobbyists post 2010 and each day around 30 images were being shared by the members. Membership to KPC was growing at a furious need and there was an urgent need to maintain the quality of the submissions. Three more admins were therefore inducted to help oversee the group’s activities – Sahran Malik, Sajad Rafeeq and Basit Alvi.
The five now constitute the core team that meets every day to discuss `What’s next for KPC.’ The club now has more than one lakh followers across various social media. KPC, now a registered company, provides a robust platform for budding photographers to showcase their talent. The aim of KPC is to promote, empower, and facilitate budding photographers, while enriching them technically. The members comprise photographers of various skill levels, constituting the right blend of youth and experience to promote photography in Kashmir.
Facebook is the main channel for interactions in KPC. Members post their images in the group from where selected images are showcased throughout social media platforms.
The group’s activities range from mentoring to photowalks and contests. The photowalks are conducted locally as well as in other states for the benefit of members; the latest was held in Delhi last month. The weekly contest ‘Theme of the Week’ is a popular one and keeps the community engaged in various genres of photography. Apart from these initiatives, the club is also setting up relationships with various leading organisations that can promote the work of its members.
Going forward, KPC plans to come up with more ways and means to promote photography. On the cards are online tutorials and a magazine, strengthening critique forums, compiling and disseminating information relating to photography, and strengthening marketing channels for members.