"Darkling I Listen" : Photography Freed from the Limitations of Sight | Indian Photographies | Scoop.it

"It struck me at once that this exhibition was almost free of visual clichés. None of the stock-in-trade of “Indian photography” — Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moments, Antoine D’Agata’s sexy shakes, Raghu Rai’s picturesque compositions — was to be seen in these photographs. We often respond to a photograph because it subliminally reminds us of another, more famous, photograph, painting or film-still. And, if we are not careful, this derivativeness, unthinking and automatic, determines the way we compose photographs, fantasies and memories. But the inner and outer lives of the blind are spared the inescapable clutter of readymade visual experience — or could it be that there are clichéd sounds, textures and smells that take their place? Somehow, it is difficult to think of clichés in spheres other than the verbal and the visual — which, in itself, is worth thinking about if we are worrying about the ubiquity of clichés.


The uncluttered quality of these photographs by the blind suggests a mode of vision that seems to have shed the burden of information and illustration. “This is my sight, detail-less,” says a wall-text by one of the partially sighted photographers in the show. So, as an experiment in a similar spirit, I decided to write this piece without providing any information about the gallery, photographers’ names, locations and even images from the show — not to mystify or tease by withholding facts, but to focus the reader’s attention on ideas and processes, instead of distracting him with names, places, dates and other specifications. I wondered, too, if ‘documentary’ photography could be freed, in certain cases, from the imperatives of context and information and taken towards a different order of vision, knowledge and value. And does this falling away of detail — not the details of texture or grain, but of information — make photography move closer to art?..."


Article by Aveek Sen | The Telegraph