"The field of visual culture studies in the Indian subcontinent has gained tremendous momentum over the last two decades. It has drawn the interests of scholars working across disciplines spanning anthropology, film and visual culture studies, curatorial studies, art history, sociology and even history and English literature. While it is evident that the visual has assumed particular historical import — the study of which is often perceived as constituting a radical move against the logocentric bias of the epistemological frameworks engendered by colonialism; the diversity of approaches in the field has however provoked interdisciplinary methods and discourses only in a very limited way. On occasions there is a hasty will to confusing the visual as a ‘popular’ medium, even bearing the mistaken claims to subalternity. The size of India’s mammoth film industry, whose annual output surpasses Hollywood’s, only facilitates this misgiving. In the backdrop of this formative field characterized as yet by an indistinguished discourse/s few texts come close, through their method, to offering a comprehensive and holistic take on the histories of the visual in the subcontinent. Malavika Karlekar’s Visual Histories: Photography in the Popular Imagination is a delicate read, combining a unique and multi-faceted form of close analysis of photographs with eloquent prose that on instances enthralls the reader with masterfully constructed complex sentences and on others, subtly humours her with the flavourful flourishes of Victorian expression..."