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if a pond runs dry, no birds….17

                             Muturai, Avvaiyar

Exhibition Text:

Born into the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent where water is intrinsic in every ritual of everyday life, people regard its life giving powers as almost unlimited. Water rituals extend far into the poetic and literal of secular life too. The squeak of pulleys as water is drawn from wells, the splash as buckets are emptied on doorsteps, the gush of the tap as vessels are filled, are sounds ingrained in memory and represent both the positive and negative in individual, family and community daily life. Physical evidence of water’s relevance is around every corner as village wells, irrigation canals, temple tanks and ponds, and in the vessels and nets scattered along riverbanks and sandy coastlines. Its significance in all its forms is reinforced through its presence and representation in much of the region’s intangible cultural heritage accumulated over thousands of years.

 Today, climate change, economic development and increasing human demands are visibly altering water bodies, marking seasons more dramatically, affecting wildlife and human condition and forcing change. Natural instincts and human emotions of anticipation, joy and relief experienced as long awaited rains bring renewal and growth, are now often superseded by concern and fear as waters rise or don’t arrive at all and disasters threaten. New stories are emerging.

 For the families and wildlife living so close to the land and its waters, the effects of these changes are increasingly evident, and soon in some cases will be disastrous. Individuals, organizations and government are making efforts to educate the public, introduce better practices and initiate positive change, but much more needs to be done. PondyPHOTO seeks to augment those efforts this year; bringing photographers and artists together to share our region’s water stories, both of the past and of the present, and inviting change makers to explain how they are working to preserve the beauty of the old while effectively meeting the challenges of the new.

WATER represents the essence of this region and PondyPHOTO 2016 will celebrate this essence in all its forms while facing head on the rising challenges to its pure and unobstructed flow in a changing environment.  If these ponds of ours run dry, our future is bleak, but with care and effort we can change today’s stories; the ponds will fill and the birds will nest. 



We trust that you will submit the work you feel best relates to the concept note above and overall mission of PondyPHOTO 2016.  That mission is to spread the message through photography about the value of water and the importance of conserving it and subsequently to inspire positive change at grassroots levels. This means that, unlike perhaps most other photography festivals, support of the central theme is extremely important and the photography exhibition, although composed of a number of individual series is considered as a single entity designed for impact and effectiveness in sharing the theme/message. This gives the very mixed public audience we entertain, which often does not recognise individual photographers, an understanding of the issue as well as direct access to outstanding work.  We believe the exhibition, and PondyPHOTO as a whole, will lead to a new generation of change makers and build interest in and support for the art of photography simultaneously.


The exhibition will be installed at the Old Port site. (View here Old Port Site Photos). Images will be installed on the extensive compound walls and on the interiors and exteriors of the abandoned godowns on the site.  Installation location within the site is not specified as the placement is determined according to the flow of the selected works within the overall space to ensure the greatest impact and effect of each in getting the message across to the public audience. This will be decided once the work has been collected from all invited artists.


PondyART prints on plastic flex. This is a cost effective means for presenting at the large scale that has been our trademark style. If you would like to present in another medium, you would be welcome to do so, however, costs could only be covered to match what flex printing would cost as funds are limited. As this different style would not necessarily follow the flow of the overall exhibition, site placement would have to be specially considered.

Visual Reference:

Please view PondyPHOTO 2014 to view installation techniques in situ.



  • All Nationalities
  • All Ages

Submitted series must be shot within the Indian Sub-Continent:

  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Nepal
  • Bhutan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Maldives


  • A fee of 1000 INR/15 USD must be received through our secure payment platform with PAYPAL to complete registration and submit your work.
  • Payments may also be made by bank transfer :For Account details write

SUBMISSION Requirements:

  • The series should include max 10 images relating to WATER
  • Color and Black/White accepted
  • Your Submission should include:
    • Your set of images resized to 100 DPI The longest side each image should be 10 inches saved in Photoshop between level 8-10 to provide a file size of approx. 350 KB as a JPEG file.
    • An introductory text about your images (max 250 words).
    • Captions and Titles for each image corresponding to the image file names.
  • How to submit images:
    • Use our online submission platform right here.
  • Please be sure follow instructions to submit the following:
    • Images
    • Intro Text with Name, Email and Cell Phone contacts.
    • Captions which may describe who, what, when, how and where.
      • Note: Should work be of an abstract nature then titles accompanied by a strong explanatory Intro Text are acceptable. Captions are not required in this case.
  • Submit here STARTING 21 OCTOBER. 
  • In case of difficulties contact:


  • Final Selection will be by group consensus of PondyPHOTO 2016 Advisory Board:
    • Ravi Agarwal
    • Pablo Bartholomew
    • Nicolas Chorier
    • Yannick Cormier
    • Sebastian Cortes
    • Waswo X. Waswo
  • 5 Photographers will be selected
  • The decisions of the Board will be final and uncontested.
  • Selected photographers will be notified by email in before 15 November 2015
  • If selected, photographers will be expected to provide digital files in format to be determined. PondyPHOTO will take responsibility for all printing and installation costs.


  • All copyrights for works submitted, selected and/or installed remain with the photographer.
  • All digital material received will be destroyed after use from all systems, hard drives, storage, etc. utilized for festival preparation.
  • All printed images and exhibition materials will be destroyed immediately following the festival unless otherwise agreed in writing with the individual photographer.