CPB Prism is the community-based & grassroots educational wing of the Chennai Photo Biennale (CPB) Foundation promoting lens-based arts education, primarily for children. We empower students to leverage the arts for creative expression, documentation as well as to explore vital issues, stimulate critical thought, and drive social change. Our programs introduce and encourage alternative and creative career paths for students.
The CPB Foundation is a registered public trust under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 incorporated in 2017 in Chennai, South India. www.chennaiphotobiennale.com.
What we do
Enabling in-person art learning for students has been our main focus. All our in-person workshops teach photography to students using mobile phones – one of the most accessible ways of learning photography! Taking photos with the phone camera also helps us focus our efforts on reading and understanding of images and less on the technical aspect of image-making.
Since 2018, we have partnered with Nalandaway to teach in Chennai Corporation Schools in Thiruvanmiyur and Perambur.
In 2019, through the support of Ashok Leyland’s Road to School, we were in over 15 State Government schools across North Chennai. At the same time, with our partner, The Grid, we hosted several weekend workshops for students from diverse range of Chennai schools
This summer, 2020, responding to the Covid-19 lockdown, we hosted several online workshops for pre-teens (#EyeSpywithCPB) and teens (#TeenPhotoAcamedy)
“Increasingly, photography is becoming one of the most accessible forms of self-expression as well as self-representation. Most kids increasingly are being introduced to photography through their parents’ phones now so we thought, why not start there. Through these phone camps, I’d like to see students go beyond the “cellphone” selfie and really explore the world around them. By starting with the basics of composition, light, framing – students will learn the building blocks of visual art. What is the background? Where do you place your subject?– Gayatri Nair, CPB Founding Member
We invite more schools in Chennai to participate. Get in touch!”
Selected students from our PhotoCamp workshops attend an annual residential camp for the next level of training in photography. They will also be trained to work on a specific theme. The final works are curated and exhibited at public venues.
The team is supported by the CPB Foundation staff that does programming, fund-raising, design, admin, social media and more!
- Gayatri, a founding trustee of the CPB Foundation, heads our education program. She’s a wedding photographer, and loves to take photos of her dogs!
- Habiba, one of our Education Program Coordinators, loves to take photographs of people and nature.
- Sakshi, also an Education Program Coordinator, loves to draw, design, read, watch films, and teach!
- Uday, Education Program Manager
We are located in Adyar, Chennai
Here’s what students and parents have to say about us!
Mekhala was one of our student presenters for ‘What is Home’, an online digital showcase held to showcase the final projects of students from #EyeSpyWithCPB Level 2. Students from #TeenPhotoAcademy and Nalandaway Foundation participated in a similar showcase as well! Here’s what Mekhala has to say about her experience:
My experience has been a great one; this project has helped me learn more about myself and my home through photos! I noticed many more things about my home that I had not noticed before. I loved the fact that I was able to share what home is to me with other people! I was also able to compare my perspective of home with others and see how their home was unique to them in different ways!! Thank you for this opportunity and for all the help that was given to make this workshop a success.Mekhala Charan, age 10
Here’s what Mekhala’s mother, Pavithra Charan, had to say about her daughter’s time in the workshop:
Mekhala had an interesting time. I like that her curiosity and eye for objects/lighting have been fired up in these sessions. Bonus, despite knowing 4 other kids in the batch, she made a new friend and loved the pair activities. Kudos on a nice workshop!
A few more students talk about their experience with #EyeSpyWithCPB and #TeenPhotoAcademy:
“This workshop was extremely helpful, informative, and very very fun!! I’m sure all the participants loved being part of it and made new friends. It was really fun to be part of an all-girls photo group!! I’m very interested in photography and this workshop improved my knowledge of photography. From how we learned about the different angles and different types of colors to the patterns and everything. Overall I was glad that my mom enrolled me in this workshop!!”Vedika, age 10, on #EyeSpyWithCPB
I came to know about this workshop from Nalandaway. I’m really lucky to have attended a very cool workshop like this! I thank Habiba akka for teaching us various topics about photography. We learned about angles, lighting, shadows, and more!! Before coming to this workshop, I didn’t take many photos of nature or even of my family members. I’ve now started observing the things and nature around me, and I take at least five photos of my plants a day. I want to take photographs every day after this workshop. The only thing that you’ve missed is that I would’ve liked this workshop to be a little bit longer. Other than this you guys are awesome!!! Love you guys!!!Raksita, age 15, on her experience with #TeenPhotoAcademy
This was a refreshing experience in the lockdown. There were multiple perspectives on how a photo becomes art, and all of these were explained by the workshop instructors really well. Looking at contemporary and past examples also allowed a wider field of perception as well as a greater understanding of the form. Thank you for this!A student from #TeenPhotoAcademy, Edition 1