Indian Photographies
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Visual Culture in the Subcontinent
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Documentary | Madan-Mahatta : the Memory Maker

"An 8 year-old boy was given a box camera instead of toys to play with and this inspired a life-long fascination of watching the world through the camera. Today, at 80, Madan Mahatta shares his passion for photography through this film. The inner world of this man of few words opens out with the help of his wife, Usha Mehta and photographer friends, Ram Rehman and Dayanita Singh, and through a historic exhibition of his work that captures the making of modern Delhi."

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Exhibition in Delhi | 'The Calcutta Diaries' by Pablo Bartholomew

Exhibition in Delhi | 'The Calcutta Diaries' by Pablo Bartholomew | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it
“I have photographed what was around me and still do. Journeys were made then and they continue even now. So, I have always recorded what was around me and intrigued me. The engagement was very simple—to look, to see, and to capture; to fill some voids that were created in the past and remain even now. In some ways it has been a form of therapy and sometimes a shield. And in our family, we lived our lives and recorded them, and if now some of it has become ‘history’ then so be it. We all make up our own language as we go along. The archive is a reservoir of this language, and it needs to undergo a constant process of re-engagement and re-assessment, in the same way that language changes and evolves over time. This is what archives are for me. They are the guardians of our memories. Calcutta is still a city that is held by time. I felt it more when I went to visit my grandmother as a child, and it still held that resonance when I went on to the sets of Shatranj Ke Khiladi . So, when I was photographing it, it was not about nostalgia as it may seem like now. Perhaps, with the passage of some more time it may become history. It is all about transitions and time—story becomes myth, myth becomes legend.”


Photograph and words by Pablo Bartholomew

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Exhibition in NYC | Ether by Fazal Sheikh

Exhibition in NYC | Ether by Fazal Sheikh | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"The northern Indian city of Varanasi, perched on the banks of the Ganges river, is perhaps the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, a site that has drawn pilgrims literally for millennia. It’s famed for its burning ghats—the sloped-approaches to the waterfront where for centuries devotees have brought their deceased loved ones for cremation, then floating the ashes into the mighty, holy Ganges. Some Hindus still believe it’s auspicious to pass away on these steps. In Varanasi’s morning fogs and along its shrine-lined streets, visitors can feel an ancient, intangible power, a sense of place that is defined more by ritual and time than geography.

 

Varanasi’s burning grounds drew critically-acclaimed photographer Fazal Sheikh, whose latest project, Ether, on exhibit at Pace/MacGill gallery in New York City till Oct. 20, is the product of his own nocturnal wanderings in the old town. New York-born Sheikh’s two earlier India-based projects—Moksha (2005), of a community of widows, and Ladli (2007), portraits of young women in orphanages, hospitals, brothels—had a decidedly engaged, political edge. Ether is less so. “Other documentary pieces of mine are much clearer in the pointed nature of what I wanted to say,” says Sheikh, who first came to prominence with his work from refugee camps in Kenya. “This project is a bit more open and broad. It’s an exploration of a mood...”

 

Photograph by Fazal Sheikh

Article by Ishaan Taroor | Time Lightbox

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Exhibition at NGMA | 'Project Cinema City'

Exhibition at NGMA | 'Project Cinema City' | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"Organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art and Ministry of Culture to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema, Project Cinema City brings together more than 20 artists, designers, technicians and architects in a collaborative show that excavates the connections between the Hindi film industry and the city of Bombay/Bambai/Mumbai, which is both the real-life site of its birth and the imaginary locale where so many of its narratives unfold.

The traits of urban modernity—anonymity, artifice, technology, speed—are echoed in our experience of cinema. Project Cinema City contains several art works that draw on these connections, inviting us to enter a space of fantasy that’s as much about the excitement and frisson of the city as it is about the pleasures of the cinematic. The first of these is a collaborative audio-visual piece that involves a series of women talking of the experience of watching films. One woman talks of how she missed out on a family expedition to the first air-conditioned theatre (Liberty) to show a Hindi film, yet another reminisces about the women of the family doing ‘full-make-up’ in the cinema bathroom so that they were actually late for the movie.... "

 

Photo : 'Fearless Nadia to the Rescue", a frame from 'Return of the Phantom Lady' by Pushpamala N.

 

Article by Trisha Gupta | Open Magazine

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Sub-Topical Heat: New Art from South Asia

Sub-Topical Heat: New Art from South Asia | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

Sub-Topical Heat is a collection of nine individually skilled artists, rather than an exhibition whose works are linked in any strong group thematic. It is not practice, politics or medium that links these artists but a post hoc interest in borders, national identity, trade and religion.

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"At a theatre not near you" | The Travelling Tent Cinemas of Maharashtra, by Amit Madheshiya

"At a theatre not near you" | The Travelling Tent Cinemas of Maharashtra, by Amit Madheshiya | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"The focus of The Travelling Tent Cinemas of Maharashtra, an exhibition of photographs that took place at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library as part of the recent Humanities in Ferment conference, is predominantly the audience. The photos literally take members of the audience out of the darkness of the hall, or shall we say tent, and shows them in their various moods, locked in the gaze of cinema.

 

The impulse to document the travelling cinemas was borne out of their absence in any form of mainstream records, say Amit Madheshiya and Shirley Abraham, photographers and researchers based in Mumbai who have been travelling with the cinemas for about four years now. “When we saw the cinemas, we were intrigued by it and curious to see the literature on them. They have not been written about in mainstream history, apart from being treated as a unit of distribution...”

 

Photograph by Amit Madheshya | The full series is available at http://amitmadheshiya.photoshelter.com/

Article by Budhaditya Bhattacharya | The Hindu

 

See also this 2011 article on the same subject

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/article2574997.ece

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Exhibition in London | Raqs Media Collective : An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale (2011)

Exhibition in London | Raqs Media Collective : An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale (2011) | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"Raqs Media Collective are three Delhi-based artists - Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula and Shuddhabrata Sengupta - whose practices include photography, new media, film, media theory and research, criticism and curation.

An Afternoon Unregistered on the Richter Scale (2011) is a silent looped video projection of an archival photograph, subtly altered by the artists to create a dream-like mise-en-scène. The original photograph, taken by James Waterhouse, depicts a room full of surveyors in colonial Calcutta in 1911, and is titled Examining Room of the Duffing Section of the Photographic Department of the Survey of India.

The Collective hope this intervention can ‘conjure a constellation of stars onto a drawing board, induce tremors too gentle to disturb the Richter scale, reveal a dreamed up desert, make time wind backwards, stain the afternoon with indigo and introduce a rustle and a hesitation in the determined stillness of the surveyors hard at work at mapping empire’."

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Exhibition in Delhi | Madan Mahatta’s Photographs Document the Birth of Modern Delhi’s Architecture

Exhibition in Delhi | Madan Mahatta’s Photographs Document the Birth of Modern Delhi’s Architecture | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"Every now and then a show comes along that compels us to challenge our conception of the contemporary history of photography in India. In the last few years, since the space for photography has expanded, a range of photo archives have been pulled out from storage and have found a place on gallery walls and collectors' homes. The photography community was most recently reintroduced to the work of photographers like Umrao Sher-Gil, Lala Deen Dayal, Kulwant Roy, Homai Vyarawala, and Richard Bartholomew all of whose legacy has been reinstated thanks to the efforts of family members, curators, and gallerists. The few whose works are yet to be revisited in the form of an exhibition have been kept in public memory by photographer Ram Rahman through his series of talks on “The Forgotten Histories” of Indian photography. Through his presentations, Rahman has been adamantly reminding the photography community about photographers like his architect father Habib Rahman, Sunil Janah, and many others whose contribution to the evolution of Indian photography cannot possibly be ignored. Most of the photographers Rahman alludes to have passed away, but some, like Madan Mahatta are very much around, and yesterday, a show of his work opened at Delhi’s Photoink to much critical acclaim. Curated by Rahman, “Delhi Modern: The Architectural Photographs of Madan Mahatta” showcases about 70 photographs taken by Mahatta from the 50s until the mid-80s, documenting the modern architectural history of post-Independent India..."

Article by Roselyne D'Mello | ArtInfo 

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Exhibition in Mumbai | Yamini Nayar at Amrita Jhaveri Projects

Exhibition in Mumbai | Yamini Nayar at Amrita Jhaveri Projects | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"A Yamini Nayar photograph is a document of constructed moments or a visual recording of a sculpture she has carefully built and then thoughtfully destroyed. In her words, her photographs “monumentalize and memorialize the fragility and decay of the sculptures, preserve the modest and humble experiences and detritus of everyday life from which they are constructed.”

 

Image by Yamini Nayar, Interview by Rosely n D'Mello

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Exhibition in Delhi | 'Dawn Upon Delhi: Rise of a Capital' at NGMA

Exhibition in Delhi | 'Dawn Upon Delhi: Rise of a Capital' at NGMA | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

An exhibition titled 'Dawn Upon Delhi: Rise of a Capital' is set to bring to life the glittering but chequered past of the city.

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Exhibition in Delhi at Exhibit 320 | 'Postcards from the Interior'

Exhibition in Delhi at Exhibit 320 | 'Postcards from the Interior' | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"Indigenous Americans once believed that when a photograph was taken, it stole a piece of the person’s soul. Similar to mirrors, which many cultures regarded as reservoirs of our ‘selves’ and hence felt, if broken, would bring ill luck and disquiet. These beliefs function as powerful metaphors for how images define us—our physical borders, the individual arrangement of our features, and our identity in terms of our differences with others. Recently, Alex Parker, a London-based amateur photographer, took pictures of himself standing with one other person or another—a friend, acquaintance or stranger. He titled the series Me. Tanvi Mishra, a Delhi-based freelance photographer and debut curator, has orchestrated a similarly intimate exhibition, one that gazes at the lives of others, whether it be the artist or his or her subject.A startlingly talented group of photographers explores the theme of self and identity through an intensely personal lens"

Photograph by Ankit Goyal

Article by Janice Pariat | Open Magazine 

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Gauri Gill | 'The Last Days of Freedom'

Gauri Gill | 'The Last Days of Freedom' | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"The girls who come to the fair have an urge to know [of the outside world]. Those who stepped into my photo tent also wished to portray themselves as they are, or as they see themselves, or to invent new selves for the camera. Their attempts may have been tentative or bold, but this book may be seen as a catalogue of that desire.

I think of Urma and Halima, two girls who belong to the nomadic Jogi community, one that has few rights, that survives precariously on the fringes of villages and small towns and may almost be said to exist outside society as we know it, without access to land, regular employment, schools, healthcare or recourse to law. Urma and Halima came into the tent and sat down very straight on the white plastic chair and the black metal stool, flanking the plastic flower arrangement on its gleaming stand. They looked at the camera with poise and confidence, not unlike the Maharanis of a hundred years ago. This book is for them."

 

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Ballika Mela by Gauri Gill, published by Edition Patrick Frey, will be released in Delhi in September 2012. With 72 black-and-white plates and 32 colour reproductions, essays by Gill herself and Manju Saran (in English and Hindi), the book is a record of Gill’s photo studio set up to take portraits of the predominantly female adolescents who attended the fair in remote and rural western Rajasthan

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Exhibition in Mumbai | 'The Visitor' by Nandini Valli Muthiah

Exhibition in Mumbai | 'The Visitor' by Nandini Valli Muthiah | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

Artist Nandini Valli Muthiah is showcasing The Visitor, a collection of images that imagine Lord Krishna in a parallel universe with several alter egos.

 

Photo by Nandini Valli Muthiah | Article by Soma Das

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Exhibition in Bangalore | 37 Indian Still Lifes

Exhibition in Bangalore | 37 Indian Still Lifes | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

For this exhibition, Tasveer gave a brief to 37 of the leading photographers working in India today to investigate the subject of still life, and to see how this subject can be explored in a specifically Indian context. Whilst one of the central genres in the history of art, this has been an all but neglected field of enquiry in contemporary photography in India - overshadowed primarily by the social documentary of Indian photographers and the increasingly conceptualised gaze of foreign reportage in India. As such, the cultures, events and landscape of India are often documented, but the presentation of physical objects, and the narratives therein, remain largely un-investigated.

Photographers include Karen Knorr, Vivek Vilasini, Saibal Das, Mahesh Shantaram, Neeta Madahar and Jyothi Bhatt.

 

Photograph by Anna Fox, from the 'Hotel Interiors' series | Tasveer

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Exhibition in Paris | deFacebook by Nandan Ghiya at Paris-Beijing Gallery

Exhibition in Paris | deFacebook by Nandan Ghiya at Paris-Beijing Gallery | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

Artist's Note

 

"The project deFacebook employs a number of old/vintage portrait photographs of different sizes from various parts of Rajasthan. Each portrait has been painted with square blocks to pixelate the faces. deFacebook comments on the interaction of internet/digital technology & its effects on indigenous cultures & individual identities. All individual or cultural value systems are defined by various physical factors ranging from ethnography, geography or economy. However, the advent of the digital has relocated everything on a virtual space. I grew up to a family of traditional art dealers in Jaipur, the 400 years old capital of Rajasthan. We had such old pictures hanging on our ancestral house walls. These were images of ancestors, gurus or political heroes. These had different associations for different people. Everyone connected with them at one level or another.

 

Now, connectivity has an altogether new meaning. Megapixel camera phones and LED screens are the new spaces for any form of interaction. Everything is becoming wallpaper on a digital screen. So my personal shrine is nothing more than a combination of thousands of pixels. The nearest market place is e-bay. The nearest hang out joint is Facebook. On www.facebook.com, it says Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. The statement represents a huge irony. How can one possibly connect on a flat screen? The answers are online communities, social networking sites, virtual farms, e-books, and virtual identities….

 

Furthermore, we are fed an endless array of imagery and information everywhere constantly. There are advertisements, agendas, deals, offers, etc. One should ideally feel lost & disillusioned. But we do not. We guilelessly hogged everything instead. In the Virtual, there is no accountability or burdens associated with individual identity. No more Indians or Americans, capitalists or fanatics - Just combinations of a few pixels here and there. Everyone and everything is gradually losing its face- hence, the pixilation of all the portraits in my installation. Virtual is the New Real. Pixel is the new Atom. Five senses are passé, 1920 x 1080 is the new way to be.

 

Welcome to deFacebook- the new chapter of human evolution."

 

Photograph and Text by Nandan Ghiya

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Exhibition in Delhi | Pushpamala N., The Drama of Three Women

Exhibition in Delhi | Pushpamala N., The Drama of Three Women | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it
The series Avega - The Passion, by Indian artist Pushpamala N. is currently on display at the Nature Morte Gallery in New Delhi. The photographic story focuses on three feminine figures of Ramayana, one of the two Indian mythological sagas written in Sanskrit between the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.
With this new series, the artist continues her reflection about iconographic references in Indian popular culture. Here, she explores the Ramayana, the foundation of Hinduism, known and shared by all in India. Like her previous works, she photographs herself, role playing the three principal heroines of the story.

 

You can read Sybile Girault's complete text in the French version of La Lettre.

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Tasveer Newsletter | Hikari, Magnum and Still life : forthcoming Exhibitions

Tasveer Newsletter | Hikari, Magnum and Still life : forthcoming Exhibitions | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

Tasveer’s current seasons’ exhibitions are now approaching their final destinations around the country. Remaining dates can be seen at the end of this newsletter, and on the Exhibitions pages of the Tasveer website - www.tasveerarts.com. Meanwhile, we're making the final preparations for next seasons' shows. At the beginning of January, we announced three of these - solo shows by Derry Moore, Maimouna Guerresi (image above), and Raghu Rai. In addition to this, we will be staging three group exhibitions; 'Hikari: Contemporary Photography from Japan', 'Still Life' and 'Magnum Ke Tasveer; 50 years in India'.

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Exhibition in NYC | ‘Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi’ at Asia Society

Exhibition in NYC | ‘Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi’ at Asia Society | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"The show covers the late reign of the rich and powerful Mughals, from whom we derive the word mogul. At their height the Mughals ruled over much of the land that today comprises India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, founding the opulent city of Shahjahanabad, now Old Dehli, in 1648. The exhibition tracks their decline, which coincided with the rise of British rule in India..."

Martha Schwendener in  the NYT

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'Documenting the now'

'Documenting the now' | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

Acclaimed photographers Raghu Rai and Nitin Rai, whose works were on show as part of the Father and Son exhibitions in New Delhi, open up on what makes images special.

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