The photo contest, organised by the Press Institute of India, received entries in four categories—Speed And News Alertness; Social And Environmental Message; Caring For Children By Children, and Poverty.
The entry that got the first prize is by Manish Swarup and on the fire at the Yamuna Pushta in Delhi. It effectively brings out the agony of those who suffered in the fire. A good picture, marred by poor print quality.
The second prize went to Harish Tyagi, for his photograph on pollution in the River Yamuna. The photo conveys more on the gravity and the extent of pollution in the river than words ever could. It shows a diver collecting coins through hazardous waste and sewage in the river and that tiny head submerged in the blackness of that almost tar-like material is enough to shock you out of your wits.
The third prize winner, ‘Every Dog Has His Day’, is a photograph by Ajay Aggarwal and is a good example of speed and news alertness. A dog strolling past VIP dignitaries at Veer Bhumi the samadhi of Rajiv Gandhi, was considered a major security lapse by many.
Ten entries got consolation prizes. Among the better of these are the photographs that show an elephant, hit by a train, dying; tiger skins burning on World Environment Day; a festival elephant trampling its mahout; commandos questioning a plainclothes policeman outside Parliament on December 13 and a man with a demon image.
One good picture that deserved at least a consolation prize, if not more, was ‘Real India Against the Backdrop of Reel India’ by Jayanta Shaw. The juxtapositioning of an ultramodern model flaunting a cellphone alongside an old labourer trying to balance a pile of bricks on her head was brilliant. The picture had a certain motion and spontaneity that should have won it some recognition.
On the other hand, one entry that got a consolation prize, but did not seem deserving, was entitled ‘See No Evil, Smell No Foul Air’ by Tarapada Banerjee. It not only lacked imagination, but also seemed mundane.
The contest received 371 entries from 91 photographers across the country. Judges included Raghu Rai, Prashant Panjiar and Ajit Bhattacharjea.