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A "cow mask" photography series uploaded on Instagram by 24-year-old photographer Sujatro Ghosh recently took the Internet by storm. Shot entirely on a mobile phone, the series features a woman wearing a cow mask posing at different iconic landmarks in India. Ghosh said he wanted to highlight "women's safety is a more serious concern than cow vigilantism", using the mask as a metaphor. Mounting it in an art gallery would have restricted its reach. "I never wanted to showcase my photography within four walls," Ghosh, who now has more than 25,000 followers on social media, told IANS. "There is no doubt that Instagram has helped me to reach out to a much larger audience, making my project successful," he added. It is not just Ghosh, but many other artists who are opting for Instagram to convey their stories -- whether it's raising awareness about contemporary social issues or glorifying the beauty of Indian Railways.
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Gone are the days when photographers would wait to get a date at a gallery to showcase their magic; now it's all on the social media. The presence of stalwarts like Raghu Rai, Dayanita Singh, Pablo Bartholomew and many others on social media platforms, embracing this sharing, shows how Instagram is gradually becoming a public gallery. "With renowned photographers joining Instagram, it shows how they have taken the medium seriously. It is not just a pastime any more," noted Shanu Babar, administrator of "Window Seat Project", a crowd-sourced community page. With over 22,000 followers, the pictures on the community page and their catchy captions would convince you to start travelling by train once again. For Mumbai-based photojournalist Anushree Fadnavis, who is working with the Indus Images, Instagram is not about uploading just photographs or getting more likes. It is about capturing the visual world that narrates the stories of commoners.