Jaipur Photo Festival: Wanderlust

15 Feb 2017

Every February, the city of Jaipur hosts an international, open-air photography festival which explores the subject of travel in relation to photography. For the 2017 edition of JaipurPhoto, its Artistic Director Lola MacDougall invited our founding director Federica Chiocchetti to be the Guest Curator and respond to the theme of wanderlust.

Reiner Riedler, from the series Fake Holidays, Themepark ‘Minsk World’, Shenzhen, China, 2008, courtesy the artist


As a Westerner, who explores the relationship between photography and fictions, images and words, and who had to ‘imagine’ and ‘study’ Jaipur, India and its audience from far away, employing Google Street View as a curatorial tool, Chiocchetti felt inclined to search for photographic works that subtly connected the concept of travel with ideas of the imaginary and the unexpected. In questioning the very notion of travel and offering alternative ways of approaching it, Chiocchetti took JaipurPhoto into new directions. The concepts explored included artificial paradises and ‘fakecation’, namely the fascinating habit of faking trips (Simão and Riedler); the photographic studio backdrop as a surrogate for imaginary trips (Molloy, Prebois); decontextualised and eroded cemetery portraits as a metaphor for the perishable journey of human life and memory (Vervaeke); the anthropological challenge of being simultaneously an insider and an outsider in a foreign culture (Rothenberger and Barbon). How the notion of travel can degenerate in war and terroristic zones was also considered (Hamad). Travel photography as a way to make the otherness of a foreign culture more understandable (Costa and Sapienza). The intriguing relationship between the media, illusions and expectations (Hoek and Gelpke). And last but not least, travel through family and time as either psychological catharses (Sancari and Kambli) or as a vehicle to re-enact ancient literary texts (Yogananthan). The festival aimed at reflecting also on mass tourism today as it seems to have adopted digital photography as a filter for experiencing travel, vicariously, through the camera (Bowditch). By obsessively recording every aspect of a trip or a work of art, is our memory itself taking the shape of photographs (Pérez Río)? How are we to understand another related compulsion: that of travellers inserting themselves ad nauseam into memorable settings, which may have the effect of trivializing heritage sites (Lombardi)?
The extraordinary architectural heritage of Jaipur served as a backdrop to the individual exhibitions, also inspiring several site-specific installations. Read more about JaipurPhoto 2017 here.

Andre Gelpke, from the series The Leaning Tower of Pisa, 1972-85, courtesy the artist

Exhibiting Artists

Marco Barbon, Tim Bowditch, Matias Costa, André Gelpke, Sonja Hamad, Jan Hoek, Priya Kambli, Julien Lombardi, Catherine Molloy, Antonio Pérez Río, Christophe Prebois, Reiner Riedler, Flurina Rothenberger, Mariela Sancari, Simone Sapienza, Paulo Simão, Kris Vervaeke, Vasantha Yogananthan.

Julien Lombardi, from the series Playground, 2016, courtesy the artist

Installation Views

Kris Vervaeke, from the series Ad Infinitum, JaipurPhoto 2017, Hawa Mahal, courtesy the festival


Paulo Simao, from the series Goodbye Pyongyang, JaipurPhoto, 2017, The Albert Hall Museum, courtesy the festival


Akshay Mahajan, from the series The Begums of Bhopal, JaipurPhoto2017, Hawa Mahal, courtesy the festival

Marco Barbon, from the series El Bahr, JaipurPhoto 2017, Hawa Mahal, courtesy the festival

Mariela Sancari, from the series Moisés, JaipurPhoto 2017, City Palace, courtesy the festival

Tim Bowditch, from the series Leaf-Peeper, JaipurPhoto 2017, Former Police Headquarters, courtesy the festival

JaipurPhoto 2017, Notebook/catalogue

JaipurPhoto 2017, Notebook/catalogue

Vasantha Yogananthan, from the series Early Times, JaipurPhoto 2017, Hawa Mahal, courtesy the festival

Antonio Pérez Río, from the series Art for Cyborgs, JaipurPhoto 2017, The Albert Hall Museum courtesy the festival

PRESS: Harper’s BazarThe British Journal of Photography (print and online), Verve magazine (interview), Verve (preview), Architectural Digest (AD), Outlook, Scroll, Domus (print), Italian Cultural Institute New Delhi, Afternyne magazine, The Hindu.