Progression aims to pave the way for several questions to be answered, questions given birth to by motion, evolution, changes, and how getting from point A to point B will affect someone’s work or their perception of the artform. How does an artist, a curator, an enthusiast, bloom, handle metamorphosis, and ultimately survive? Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, considered the largest photography festival in Asia, seeks to be a medium for enlightenment as well as a vessel for showcasing such realizations. Based in Bangladesh, the organization has chosen “Transition” to be its theme for this year, following the 2015 edition’s captivating take on intimacy.

Taking on the aforementioned theme means change need be applied to the festival. As such, for the first time ever, Chobi Mela takes ten Bangladeshi artists under its wing, turning them into Fellows who will produce site-specific artworks for the festival. All kinds of media will be explored, depending on the artists themselves, with each independent project nurtured for six months under the guidance of Mahbubur Rahman and his team of festival curators. This initiative will no doubt help support Bangladesh’s new media artists, their projects and respective vision.

Among those who will be featured in the exhibitions are Alexander Supartono, Nasir Ali Mamun, and Stanley Greene. Six different workshops, not to mention a photobook masterclass as well as a workshop for photojournalists, will be available during the festival.

The event also features an impressive roster of portfolio reviewers, who can help budding photographers transition into better versions of themselves. The likes of Rishi Singhal, Gwen Lee, and Nayantara Kakshapati will impart valuable insights on each body of work encountered. Each session lasts for 20 minutes to give guests a fair chance to have their work critiqued.

Chobi Mela IX will run from February 3 to 16 this year. Once again, it is expected to draw huge crowds as they do every couple of years.

© Taufiqur Rahman Anik (Bangladesh), from ‘du·o·logue’
© Tomas Van Houtryve (Belgium), from ‘Blue Sky Days’
© Yoshikatsu Fujii (Japan), ‘from Red String’
© Stanley Greene (United States), from ‘Open Wound’
© Shahria Sharmin (Bangladesh), from ‘Call Me Heena’

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