The work of Chennai based photographer Sharad Haksar has already been popularized in numerous blogs. His ingenious cultural commentary and effortless transition between fine art and commercial photography deserves another mention.
In 2005 Mr. Haksar won the Cannes Silver Lion. That same year he was threatened with a lawsuit by Coca Cola for a billboard he placed in Chennai as an “expression of creativity”, despite having apparently received prior permission from the company. “The billboard features the ubiquitous red Coca-Cola wall painting, commonly found across India. Directly preceding the Coca-Cola ad, and part of the billboard, is a dry water hand-pump, with empty vessels waiting to be filled up with water – a common scene in India, particularly in Chennai. Mr. Haksar’s billboard highlights the severe water shortages being experienced by communities that live around Coca-Cola’s bottling plants across India. A community close to Chennai, in Gangaikondan, has already held large protests – protesting against an upcoming Coca-Cola plant. In the neighboring state of Kerala, in the village of Plachimada, Coca-Cola has been unable to open its bottling facility for the last 16 months – because the community will not allow it to. Coca-Cola is in serious trouble in India. A massive rural movement has emerged to hold the company accountable for creating water shortages and polluting the remaining water and soil.”