In 2010, online photo-editing and sharing service Instagram was launched with digital filters like the vintage-style “1977” and the sinister-themed “Sutro”. Immediately, such too-easy-to-use tweaking options allowed the app’s users to turn some of their most banal and clumsy clicks into breathtaking imagery. Suddenly, anyone could create a beautiful photograph, but at the other end of the spectrum, that same year, the National Geographic Society released Simply Beautiful Photographs, a coffee-table tome.
Containing 250 of the Society’s most perfectly composed and painstakingly created photographs, hand-picked by National Geographic’s award-winning veteran photographer Annie Griffiths, the book is a study in the making of great photographs the good old-fashioned way. In an interview with The Bob Edwards Show, a US-based radio show, Griffiths had said nearly all the photographs were chosen from National Geographic’s archives based on a simple criteria—“the pictures just needed to stop me in my tracks”.
The book launch was followed by a travelling exhibition, Simply Beautiful!, which has now made its way to Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Covering subjects as diverse as microscopic butterfly wings and cosmic activity, it not only aims to create a sense of wonder but also hopes to give guests an insight into the correct use of complex photography techniques.
Simply Beautiful! kicks off the entertainment and education company ACK Media’s latest venture, National Geographic Exhibitions, a series of multi-city events to showcase the Society’s most popular photography exhibits. Manas Mohan, the chief operating officer at ACK Media and publishing director of the National Geographic and National Geographic Traveller India magazines, says the new brand has been launched to commemorate the 125th anniversary year of the Society. The company is in talks with venue partners, including big mall chains, to host at least 15-20 exhibitions this year. Simply Beautiful! will be accompanied by photography workshops, including one in Mumbai, hosted by ace photographers from the National Geographic network.
Simply Beautiful!, 2-10 February, 10am-9pm. Art Entrance, Army and Navy Building foyer, Kala Ghoda, Colaba (65055034). For updates on exhibition dates and venues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune, visit www.facebook.com/NatGeoTraveller.India
“Talking Photos”, a workshop by National Geographic photography editor Ashima Narain, will be conducted on 10 February. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.