Foundation for Photography under focus

Venkat Raman – 

While smartphones have made people instant photographers, it is heartening to see an increasing number of residents in the Waikato region taking up to traditional photography, which has encouraged an internationally acclaimed photographer to establish a Foundation to create a veritable platform for enthusiasts to attain proficiency.

Ashok Kochhar, who has been a regular contributor to our Artlink managed by our Assistant Editor Ratna Venkat since its creation in September 2015, believes that photography will thrive as a profession so long as the earth and its beautiful creations exist, both in the wild and in the society.

Encouraged by the response that he has received in the wider Waikato region, specifically Hamilton, Rotorua and Cambridge, he is establishing a Foundation to develop a pool of photographers and promote creative photography.

Creative Commune

“It would be a self-sustaining entity working on the concept of a ‘Creative Commune,’ dedicated to promoting photography as an art and an avenue of expression for all age groups. As a true form of art, the vision of photography transcends all human barriers and unleashes them into a world of purity,” he said.

Details of the Foundation will appear in these columns shortly.

Kochhar is an artist, a visual expert and an esoteric personified.

While his images leave the spectators gasping, his thought and expression stir the deepest emotions and cast a spell of magnificence hard to explain in words.

Artist par excellence

It is often said that only a painter in a photographer can create wondrous and exotic visuals. In about two decades (he started only in the late 1980s), Kochhar has worked for almost all major corporates in India. His engineering qualifications and background in Engineering brings into focus accuracy and sharp vision, both of which are important attributes to photography.

Throughout his career, Kochhar has worked on high quality equipment, matching international standards. He is stated to be among a handful of photographers who use the best technology and techniques available globally.

In a world that is increasingly becoming ‘selfies’ (curiously it rhymes with ‘selfish’), photographers such as Kochhar stand light years apart. He is a creative artist par excellence, with an eye for the unusual and a lens for the unclicked.

He makes his subjects speak- it is not necessary that they should be humans, animals or birds. Even a leaf gets to convey a message. Many of these are a part of his ever-widening reservoir of talent and even imagination.

The revival

More than 300 people in Hamilton and surrounding areas have found Kochhar as their source of inspiration and motivation. Since January 16, 2016, he has organised more than 35 workshops at which they have learnt the nuances of photography, how to capture a subject with clarity and creativity within the frames of their cameras.

These Workshops, conducted free of charge, have earned the appreciation of Hamilton Mayor Andrew King, Council officials, several community leaders and most importantly, people who want to grain proficiency in photography, reviving in the process its glory and importance.

His penchant for Hamilton, which he calls ‘A City that has adopted me,’ inspired him to complete two major assignments for the Hamilton City Council. He photographed and documented the Waste Water Treatment Plant and Fresh Water Treatment Plant and offered them as a gift to the City.

Sustained partnerships

Indian Newslink prides itself in identifying and fostering sustained relationship with people who contribute to our communities and environs as a part of their social and community responsibility. It was in that spirit that we were drawn towards his amazing and amusing ‘500 Days in New Zealand,’ a journey that would take him around the country in as many days, capturing people in places, thereby creating a new world of humans with innate goodness.

While this journey takes him back and forth from Hamilton where is based, his passion to share his expertise and experience at many photography clubs free of charge have earned him scores of friends and followers.

My World, My Vision

One of his most interesting and innovative initiatives is the launch of ‘My World, My Vision,’ a project exclusive for children, last year

He gifted 40 disposable cameras to twenty children aged between six and nine years, from all socio-economic backgrounds asking them to give vent to their creativity, without external influence. The result was an array of photographs, each of which gave vent to the imagination of the participating children.

Their pictures were the main exhibits at Creative Waikato, Hamilton from December 1 to December 13, 2016.

This Year’s Project will be launched at the Ninth Annual Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture on Monday, August 7, 2017 at Alexandra Park, details of which will appear in an ensuing edition.


Photo Caption:

  1. Ashok Kochhar (extreme right) with Prime Minister Bill English and National MPs Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Jami-Lee Ross at the launch of Electionlink pages of Indian Newslink on February 27, 2017
  2. Ashok Kochhar with Hamilton Mayor Andrew King and others at the exhibition at Creative Waikato on December 1, 2016
  3. Ashok Kochhar at one of its Photography Workshops in Hamilton
  4. A picture shot by a child as a part of ‘My World, My Vision’

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