The story of two photographers, Raghu Rai and Kishor Parekh, and their books on the birth of Bangladesh
Article : Elizabeth Kuruvilla | Open Magazine
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"Photographers as ‘Artists’ appeared at a distinct moment in the history of photography in India; these ‘artist-photographers’ based their work on the aesthetics of exchange between tradition, fine art and even performance. This allows for a more complex and unrestrained view of the discipline, one in which the camera develops close links with painting and printmaking. Furthermore, these photographers sought to publicize their spaces as art ateliers, equipped with statues, furniture and painted backdrops, further emphasized by the versos of card-mounted photographs..."
Photograph : C.A Dannenberg
'Photography in Rearview'
"Art is constantly evolving. It travels through time, space, medium and perceptions, constantly contradicting and breaking boundaries. Photography, a relatively recent art form for both ends of the world now stands as a prime witness to time and has combined the old and new to create its own language, different from those we quintessentially experience on a canvas. While the globalized West is institutionalizing progressive photography, the phenomenon has more recently reached its hype in Bangladesh. Courtesy of international trade, China, new media and peer pressure, equipments are widely available and a ‘photographer’ is found at every nook and corner.
Exciting times as such is frequently described as desperate times. Because of its prevalence, photography – like any other creative outlet – faces the same doubt, the same criticism of being overestimated. And it is perhaps because of this very overestimation that triggered photographers Munem Wasif and Tanzim Wahab to take a step back and re-explore the origin of photography in the East and West. A compilation of articles, interviews, commentaries and profiles, Kamra is a much needed conversation on how the art form has evolved over time and found its niche in Bangladesh..."
Article by Sabhanaz Rashid Diya | Daily Star Weekend Magazine
"Mumbai can drive you crazy. And because (or, perhaps, despite) of this, you want to make sense of it. You want to make some kind of order out of it. And more often than not, in trying to create order, you succumb to the same thing that almost everyone succumbs to, the same trap: you fall for the idea of the “Maximum City”, the chaos, the speed, the heat, the shit, the poor, the rich, all at once, the grand narrative of 17 million people forced to live on top of one another in a city held together by ingenuity, momentum and sheer force of will. You succumb to this because it’s true, to a degree, and because it’s intoxicating, and also because it’s easy. In the overwhelming face of everything it’s easy to say, “all life is here, it’s messy, and it works!” and turn a blind eye to everything else. But it gets kind of boring. And it means that other interpretations are lost.
If you’ve lived or worked in Mumbai in the last five or ten years you’ll have seen the beanbag graffiti: Beanbags 26407383. I saw it once and then, like a new word you learn, I saw it everywhere, on walls, houses, pipelines, metal sheets, flyovers, construction sites, waste-ground. Everywhere: Beanbags 26407383. It was, it is, the work of a beanbag salesman, who had the genius to go out and spray the city with the name of his product and a phone number, at one stroke bypassing the legal, unaffordable marketing mechanisms of the ‘official’ city springing up around him. In the city of commerce, the very fabric of the city became an advertising hoarding. And this is how he made his fortune.
It’s a nice story, but we were interested in something else too. We were interested in the opportunity the repeated motif provided us to look at the city with different eyes, in a different light, away from the “Maximum” view...."
Text : Matthew Parker
"Finally, those uprooted from their homes, anywhere in the world by conflict, human rights violations, natural disasters and other comparable causes, who remain within the borders of their own countries – are subject to rights driven excesses, both during and after displacement. Frequently, they are discriminated against for being displaced and exposed to discrimination on racial, ethnic and gender grounds. I strongly believe that violence, internal displacement, lack of governance and environmental issues remain hugely under reported from India’s North-Eastern states. Surprisingly, this seems acceptable to most of our editors and therefore requires long-term engagement by both photographers and journalists alike, taking it to a wider audience both within the country and on an international stage."
Photographs and Text by Vivek Singh | Galli Magazine
"One of the world's most comprehensive and significant collections of portrait photography from India is on exhibit for the first time. The collection was originally thought to be lost during World War II, only gradually returning to Berlin's National Museums beginning in the 1990s.
One unifying aspect of many early portraits is a particularly European view - "The Colonial Eye". In the second half of the nineteenth century, in the name of science and colonialism, the land and its inhabitants were to be apprehended through observation and cataloguing, analysation and measurement. The fascination with India was especially evoked by the strange-looking indigenous peoples and the caste-system, as well as the splendour of the Indian nobility and the austere life of ascetics."
Photograph : Bourne & Shepherd (?), Andamanen-Insulaner, um 1880, Albuminabzug
The Thiyyas, a matrilineal community from North Kerala whose members are spread all over the India and the world, tend to document family history through photographs, letters, family trees, genealogies and myths of creation. Sociologist Janaki Abraham has been researching the visual cultures of the Thiyyas for the last five years. In the following essay she presents photographs found in home in Thalassery, Kerala, and challenges the assumption that the privileged alone had collections of old photographs.