The annual IPA photography contest is something which I look forward to annually to submit some of my work for the year which I personally like, to ascertain if they can hold their own within a field of international entries from other capable and talented photographers around the world. For IPA 2017, I submitted less entries than previous two years as I have been shooting less through the year due to work commitments. It is also the first time I had a go at the ‘series’ category and am happy to receive an honorable mention for it. I am pleased with the outcome and to share it with you here on my ongoing photography journey.
Under the ‘Event/Traditions & Cultures’ category – ‘A Final Prayer To Goddess Durga’
In Hinduism, Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe, the power behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the world. The protector from the evils of the world, Goddess Durga is portrayed as carrying weapons in her many arms and riding a lion. Durga Puja is a celebration of the Mother Goddess victory of good over evil, one of the most important festivals of India. The nine day celebrations include rituals to ward one of impurities, vices and defects, adoring Goddess Durga as the giver of spiritual wealth and the goddess of wisdom. Devotees offer a final prayer in earnest to Goddess Durga on the last day of the celebrations to bestow on them spirituality, wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, strength, knowledge, etc. before she returns back to the heavens. Apart from being a religious festival, it is also an occasion for reunion and rejuvenation among family and friends.
The set was shot in October 2016 on the last day of the Durga Puja in Mumbai. I remember that night well at Juhu Beach, it was packed and bustling with activities as devotees/celebrants went about their prayers, amid a spiritual and divine calmness, and colourful vibrant atmosphere. I have not seen anything like it before and every moment was new and an experience indeed! Some were curious and happy to see me there taking an interest in the proceedings and photographing, some made me feel welcome, we chatted, got acquainted, and I even got to try some of the ceremonial food they offered for good luck. There were requests for some photos, which I was only happy to reciprocate and sent them later. All in, I was there for a good 5-6 hours and took quite a number of photos; out of these, I picked the above five for my entry which I feel captures the essence and emotion of how families, relatives, friends and communities from near and far come together to offer their final prayer to goddess Durga Puja in different settings and scale, all with a common purpose and pure adoration for their mother goddess. Hope you like the photos … they were taken as is, handheld, none were posed.
All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 35mm & XF 23mm
This year, The International Photography Awards received 14267 of submissions from over 165 countries.
About the International Photography Awards
The International Photography Awards conducts an annual competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global scale, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. Each year, the International Photography Awards (IPA) invites passionate photographers, to compete for the title of Photographer of the Year, Discovery of the Year and Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year. A board of esteemed professionals in the field juries the competition: curators, photo editors, gallery owners, art directors, and other luminaries from the international photography community. The awards includes a Lucie Statue and cash prizes totaling over $20,000, exhibition and publication opportunities. www.photoawards.com
About the Lucie Awards
The Lucie Awards is the annual event honoring the greatest achievements in photography. The photography community from countries around the globe will pay tribute to the most outstanding photography achievements presented at the Gala Awards ceremony. Each year, the Advisory Board nominates deserving individuals across a variety of categories who will be honored during the Lucie Awards ceremony. Once the nominations have been received, the votes are tallied and an honoree in each category is identified. The honorees are pre-announced months before the Lucie Awards. The Lucie Awards are a signature program of Lucie Foundation. www.lucieawards.com