Indians Celebrating India at Houston FotoFest

“Mehr-un-Nissa," 2016. From the series “Impersonations.”CreditAnusha Yadav

Photography in India is a paradox. There are ample commercial opportunities, but few schools devoted to the medium. So, for the people of the world’s seventh largest country — with a population expected to overtake China — choosing a career in photography means either learning on the job or studying outside the country.

“There is very little discourse,” said Sunil Gupta, an artist and the lead curator of this year’s FotoFest International, the first and longest-running worldwide photography biennial, which opens March 10 in Houston. “There is no classroom situation, no discussion, nothing in print, nothing to be involved in some kind of critique.” There are a few photo courses at the National Institute of Design, known as NID, in Ahmedabad, but Mr. Gupta said “you can count them on one hand.”

Yet, with the largest diaspora in the world — at over 15.6 million according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs — many Indian photographers already reside outside of the subcontinent. That led Steven Evans, an artist and FotoFest’s executive director and head of programming, to choose India and its diaspora as the theme for the 2018 biennial. FotoFest is also publishing an accompanying book, “India: Contemporary Photographic and New Media Art.”

“We’re known for bringing recognition to photographers from parts of the world that have been underserved by people looking at photography,” Mr. Evans said. “So, in the past, the biennials have focused on photography from Russia, China, Korea, Latin America, the Arab world. And this year we are looking at artists of Indian origin.”

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Image Credit: “Mehr-un-Nissa,” 2016. From the series “Impersonations.”CreditAnusha Yadav