A new kind of photoshop

ArtBuRt is a digital portal that allows you to buy or rent photographs

Published - June 12, 2018 05:57 pm IST

 Sriharsha Ganjam and Siri Gopinatham, Founder of ArtBuRt

Sriharsha Ganjam and Siri Gopinatham, Founder of ArtBuRt

Among the collection of fine art photos at Sriharsha Ganjam and Siri Gopinatham’s new fine art photography portal ArtBuRt (for buying and renting), is his and a fellow photographer, Ashwini Kumar Bhat’s photograph of what could be the first moonbow in Asia.

A moonbow is a lunar rainbow and is quite tricky to see, let alone capture on camera. It was captured as part of Sriharsha, Ashwini and Sahana Balkal’s ‘Unseen Landscapes’ series of photographs. Through the series, the team has previously covered unusual natural phenomena such as the ghost lights of Gujarat, subterranean caves in Meghalaya, bio-luminescence in the forests of Western Ghats and meteor landscapes.

Sriharsha and his team are part of a group of landscape photographers called ‘Landscape Wizards’.

“The idea of creating a portal for fine art photography came to me a few years ago while we were working with Landscape Wizards; I am still a part of the group. After all these years of evolution of photography in India, where people are now expressing themselves through new styles, the market itself hasn’t seemed to have progressed. It is, in fact, barely existent,” he says. “What this means is that there is a huge gap which divides creative output and consumption. That’s how this idea was born. It took me some years to formulate a structure and bring it into shape.”

Sriharsha finally quit his job late last year to establish ArtBuRt, which, he claims, is India’s first and only curated online fine art photo gallery.

“We are into selling original photographs that are sourced directly from photographers. We intend to open the Indian market for considering photography as a valid art form and our market place on ArtBuRt provides a platform for various photographers to put up their work for sale or rent. The work we carry spans various genres and features both experienced photographers who have worked with major publications such as BBC and National Geographic as well as upcoming newcomers as well,” he explains.

He has also been an active participant at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath’s Chitra Santhe, selling photographs over the last decade. “In the first few editions, people seemed to be more keen to buy paintings. Over the years, we have seen a steadily growing interest in buying photographs. I found this trend to be encouraging. Over the course of time, as I kept meeting people who worked in the fields of art and photography, I started realizing that people wanted something new. This is a time when people are bold enough to experiment. They can now know where to look if they are willing to consider investing in photography.”

One of the advantages of being an e-commerce portal, he says, is that is there is no pressure to sell the unsold frames.

“Otherwise it leads to undervaluing the art because you start looking at offering discounts. That is not fair to the art work and the artist,” he explains.

“Though we are a digital gallery, when we get a proposal we carry some samples that convey the idea of the texture or the material when we meet the client. We don’t expect anyone to invest in the photographs without a face to face interaction or at least a phone call.”

Their model, he explains, has two modes. In the first mode, a prospective buyer sees something on the website and requests a quote. “The other mode, which is more prevalent, is a request for a specific kind of image(s) because we have so many different kinds of artists enlisted. And if we don’t have those images, we shoot them.”

Sriharsha explains that they carefully examine the portfolio of artists who seek to enlist. “We don’t take in the ‘point and shoot’ kind of images because anyone can get those today. We look for images that have an artistic touch, capture a unique concept, moment, or perspective.”

They also rent out images, largely featuring previously unsold images from exhibitions, for a minimum period of one year.

“Rental customers can get a new set of images the following year.”

The objective, adds Sriharsha, is to become a one-stop-shop for all fine art photography requirements.

“We currently have a lot of work on wildlife and nature. We are now moving into the people, culture, and architecture space. The other exciting genres we will soon launch are vintage/archive images as well as aerial and underwater images. We also offer corporate photographs, with an artistic twist.”

For details, visit artburt.com .

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