Points of View: Defining Moments of Photography in India | Volume 1

Edited: Gayatri Sinha

Publisher: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

Publication Design: Sanket Jadia

Pages: 387 | Dimension: 11” x 9.25”

ISBN: 978-81-928037-1-5

Price: ₹ 4700 / € 48 / $ 61

To purchase the book please email preetha.kolore@shivnadarfoundation.org

The book comprises of a rich selection of 15 essays that are the outcome of first and second generation critical enquiry into the history of photography in India, its social imprints and artistic intentions. The story of the lens and shutter is not just a narrative of colonial conquest and capture, but also marks the imaginative subversion and creative enquiry that went into the making of a modern independent nation. The subjects explored include early forays in Pictorialism and studio photography, the growing prominence of photojournalism and enthnographic documentation, experimentations with performance and filmmaking, as well as the current explosion of morphed and ‘poor’ images in digital media.

The essayists, as scholars, curators and critics, bring the disciplines of anthropology, film and media criticism, museology, gender and queer studies to bear on their writings. Contributions include those from Jyotindra Jain, Rahaab Allana, Deepali Dewan, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Diva Gujral, Sabeena Gadihoke, Ranu Roychoudhuri, Shanay Jhaveri, Ranjani Mazumdar, Suryanandini Narain, Kajri Jain, Parul Dave Mukherji, Gayatri Gopinath, Chinar Shah and Aileen Blaney. The semantic mix of methods and the meanings that they excavate from archival and contemporary work make this volume a seminal study of nearly 200 years of practice in this field.

Endorsements for Volume 1 ‘Points of View’

“Gayatri Sinha and her gifted authors have provided, to my mind, the most inventive and informative archive of Indian photography to date. It is a work of considerable learning that shapes the eye to participate in new forms of looking: at history, industry, the ‘masses’, movies and markets. This remarkable volume also explores the power of the photograph to look beyond what is shown, or ‘in view’, and participate in the chess-game of a nation’s destiny.

The great mystery and beauty of photography of any ilk or genre lies in its ability to give the viewer—the magazine reader, the online audience, the museum visitor—the agency and authority to create a narrative of historical truth or cultural fantasy, both private and public, that pivots on the fixed moment of ‘the photograph’ and its ability to travel into the past and the future. Photography never stops signifying because it stands still, and in that stillness lies its resolute witness to the times. This is a must-read and a must-look!” - Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University.

“Insightfully conceived, Points of View provides a much-needed kaleidoscopic lens on photography in colonial and independent India as both a catalyst for and a reflection on the multi-directional developments of the country and its psyche as embodied in places, peoples and moments. From the intimate portraits of the maharajas and the iconic images of Mahatma Gandhi to the village girls at carnivals and young males on the night streets of Benares, the esteemed scholars and artists in the volume provide a picture of India and its photographic movements that are deep, illuminating, and unforgettable. The book is a tour-de-force!” - Vishakha N. Desai, President Emerita Asia Society, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs and Chair of the Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

“There have been many great photographers in India…from the pioneering nineteenth-century photographic entrepreneur Raja Deen Dayal, to the Marxist Sunil Janah, and Raghubir Singh who changed global perception of colour photography. Yet, until relatively recently, photography by Indians remained a poor cousin of the world of photographic curation. This volume, handsomely supported by Kiran Nadar’s enlightened patronage, and edited by Gayatri Sinha, a well-known scholar on Indian modernism, makes a substantial contribution to the newly emerging subject. The book is remarkable as much for the range of essays by erudite writers as for the wealth of its amazing photographs. It strikes a judicious balance in the selection of topics that offer a synoptic overview of the camera as an instrument of representation in an evolving India, moving from the colonial to the post-independence and globalization eras.Points of View is essential reading for anyone interested to know more about this field.” - Partha Mitter, Art historian and writer.

“This collection of insightful essays, written by experts in each field, presents key episodes in the history of photography in India, from its origins to contemporary practice. I found the book to be an invaluable introduction to a fascinating subject that has just begun to receive the full international attention it deserves.” - Jay A. Levenson, Director of the International Programme, Museum of Modern Art.



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