Abandoned: The Beatles in Rishikesh

Beatles in Rishikesh / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / 2012
Beatles in Rishikesh / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / 2012

“Imagine”

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as oneImagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
– John Lenon, lead singer and song writer of Beatles, 1971

The Beatles visited Rishikesh in India, in February, 1968 to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation ( TM ) training session, at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Pepped by the  widespread media attention, their stay at the ashram was one of the band’s most productive periods. Their adoption of the Maharishi as their guru is credited by some as changing attitudes in the West about Indian spirituality and encouraged the study of Transcendental Meditation.

The Beatles had first met the Maharishi in London in August, 1967 and then attended a seminar in Bangor, Wales. Although this seminar in Wales was planned to be a 10-day session, their stay was cut short by the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. Wanting to learn more, they kept in contact with the Maharishi and planned to attend his ashram in October, but their trip was rescheduled due to other commitments.

Finally, The Beatles arrived at the ashram in February 1968, along with their partners, girlfriends, assistants and numerous reporters. They joined the 60 other TM students, including musiciansDonovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys and flautist Paul Horn. While there, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison wrote many songs ( Ringo Starr wrote one ), of which eighteen were later recorded for ‘The Beatles ( White Album )’, two for ‘Abbey Road’ and others for solo works.  The trip to India was the last time all four Beatles travelled abroad together.

In the year 2012, I had taken a road trip to Himalayas and on my way back I went to Rishikesh. The off season rains and intense cold didn’t stop my explorations. As a lover of The Beatles, I wanted to visit the ashram in which they had stayed. Going by the knowledge I had of the historical visit, I thought that finding the ashram will be an easy task. Preparing myself for a short walk, I started inquiring people about the ashram, the famous ashram that was visited by the Beatles. To my surprise, not many knew about the ashram and I had to walk more than ten kms, going in rounds to locate the now abandoned ashram… I was shivering in cold when the lone guard of the ashram stopped me from entering. He thought that I was a wanderer looking out for a place to spend the day. Not wanting to enlighten him of my purpose of visit, I bribed him and entered the ashram. My small pocket camera poses no threat to anybody.
The Maharishi’s compound is across from River Ganga, located in the holy “Valley of the Saints” in the foothills of the Himalayas. The ashram was abandoned in the year 1997 and has been under the control of the forest department. The forest undergrowth is what’s left of the original Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. The remnants of the sprawling ashram buildings, meditation cells and lecture halls could be found, including Maharishi’s own house and the guest house where the Beatles had stayed….

( Continued )

Contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad is noted for his maverick experimental photographic works. Overall, the corpus of Azad’s work can be seen to have a thrust towards an archive of local micro-history at the level of personal memory and in that sense, his works add up to a kind of social anthropology of his land and its people, though not necessarily in the line of tradition of the objective documentary.His works are predominantly autobiographical and expose the areas of politics, culture, contemporary history, gender and eroticism. His works attempts a re-reading of contemporary Indian history – the history in which ordinary people are absent and mainly provided by beautiful images and icons. Using the same tool, photography, that chisels history out of a block of ‘real’ human experiences, Abul makes a parody of it.

Abul Kalam Azad is the visionary behind EtP (Ekalokam Trust for Photography) and serves as the Director of Project 365, the public photo-art project that collectively creates and preserves photographic visuals of the fast vanishing culture, divergent landscape and pluralistic culture of ancient Dravidian society. In this series of memoirs, Abul shares interesting anecdotes and information about his photographs and the people in his photographs.

Miniature ART notebooks_promo images_Leo James (8)
Beatles in Rishikesh / Miniature PHOTO Notebook

Ekalokam collective, a firm set-up to merchandise art in every day life has published a miniature photo-notebook titled ‘the Beatles in Rishikesh’. The Beatles in Rishikesh has been exhibited by Apparao Galleries and United Art Fair II curated by noted photographer and art curator, Ram Rahman.

 

Disclaimer

 

“Devil in God’s own country” – wings Flapping of Migratory Birds in an Anarchist’s Fingers

Johny ML is an art historian, cultural critic and curator. Born in, Kerala, he has three post graduate degrees – Creative Curating, Art History & Criticism and English Language & Literature. He has curated numerous shows and is the founder editor of two online magazines on Indian contemporary art. He also directs documentaries on art, translates international literature into malayalam and is a blogger (http://johnyml.blogspot.in/).

In Abul Azad’s visual dictionary the word ‘still life’ is elaborated as follows: the objects related to and resulted by a person’s life and these objects are seen arrayed in a certain fashion as providence would suggest and these objects would remain in the same way as if they were caught in and frozen by time. Their stillness shows that the person who has caused such an arrangement is equally still or methodically careless.

Perhaps, the birth certificate of still life as an artistic genre, written in fourteenth century does not agree with what Azad’s not yet written dictionary says. Still Life as an artistic genre while capturing the beauty and mortality of life also highlighted the skill of the artists who excelled in this genre. Primarily a western religious artistic mode, Still Life became an unavoidable philosophical visual motif for many European artists during the renaissance and the years that followed. When it came to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Still Life had become a medium of scientific experiments in art, which later crossed over to the modes of conceptual installations.

Hari Narayanan / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / 2013
Hari Narayanan / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / 2013

Visit the percussionist, Harinarayanan’s room. What you find there is a total commotion of daily objects used or rendered useless by or even emblematized by the anarchist artist Harinarayanan. Azad trains his camera at these objects and the framing itself edits out the wanted from the unwanted. Unwanted here is the space as Harinarayanan occupies a space that is object infested; his tea glass which has not been washed for quite some time, empty cigarette packets, papers, cigarette stubs and so on. When the space is edited out by the eyes of Azad these objects assume the shape of a Still Life, which simultaneously speak of the life of Harinarayanan and narrates a story about the time in which he lives.

Like Harinarayanan, Azad too lives a life of a nomad, an eternal wanderer. While Harinaryanan travels in his subconscious through nicotine and alcohol or weed induced euphoria, Azad travels in the physical space constantly capturing the displaced images that create meaning out of ironic associations. Nomads are dangerous people as they defy settlement and refuse to enter the mainstream life. On the contrary the mainstream life protected by state is always watchful about the nomads who the state believes that are in a perpetual preparation of war against it. An anarchist and nomad who live within the mainstream society in that sense is a threat not because he causes physical danger to others but because his life style itself remains as a constant critique of the normative life values. It tends to threaten the complacency of the people who live in illusionary sense of conformity.

Harinarayanan is a percussionist par excellence. While percussion is mostly related to temple based classical art forms, Harinarayanan operates from outside the religious structures. He has always been a fellow traveler of other anarchists and creatively mad people like late filmmaker John Abraham. In Abraham’s hallmark movie, ‘Amma Ariyan’ (For Mother’s Information) Harinarayanan plays the role of a tabalist who commits suicide. His friends gather from different places and they together go to his mother’s place and slowly the mother becomes the leader of that pack of anarchists who in fact moves against the mainstream values of life. Harinarayanan’s character has become one with the character that he plays in the movie. A friend of many like-minded creative people, Harinaryanan still lives the life of a non-conformist in the city of Kozhikode.

When Azad captures the objects and presences in Harinarayanan’s room devoid of Harinarayanan’s physical presence, they in a way tell the story of the person who lives there. In the moments of revolt and self-induced pain and angst, Harinarayanan writes slogans of revolution on his walls. They remain like graffiti written by a revolutionary in exile. Though Still Life connotes the beauty of life and the imminent death, here in Azad’s vision, these photographic still lives emblematize the life of a person who refuses to die and prolongs his life through anarchistic life style and thinking. One cannot forget the lives lived by late John Abraham and A.Ayyappan or D.Vinayachandran, when we look at these photographs. When Azad registers the still life of Harinarayanan we feel how moving a life it is. At the same time that life poses before us a critique of our own lives.

There is a sense of strong identification between Azad and Harinarayanan. In his autobiographical series called ‘My Anger and Other Stories’ Azad brings out a series of still lives from his own life that has brought in anger and pain, love and denial in his own life. Harinarayanan in that sense becomes a surrogate for the artistic self, a character which could be interchanged in subtle ways. Azad’s spiritual seeking at Thiruvannamalai also gets reflected when Harinaryanan writes on his wall, ‘Who am I?’ Such resonances make this series worth pondering. In a sense, each photograph belongs to the genre of still life but the intentionality of the artist transcends it into the zones of documentation, biographical registration and a critique of life, rather than a caution about death.

Disclaimer: Photographs and text published in this post is copyrighted property of the author. Prior permission is required from the author for republishing and reprinting. For more information, contact Ekalokam Trust for Photography at admin@etpindia.org

 

 

தீன் தயாளின் புகைப்படங்கள்

துளசி ஸ்வர்ண லட்சுமி தூத்துக்குடி மாவட்டத்தில் உள்ள உமரிக்காட்டில் பிறந்தவர். சென்னையில் உள்ள  சிவ நாடார் கல்லூரியில் எம்.பி.ஏ பயின்றுள்ளார். சமூக வளர்ச்சியில் ஆர்வம் கொண்ட இவர் ஆப்ரிக்கா மற்றும் தென்னமேரிக்கா நாடுகளில் பணியாற்றியுள்ளார். சுனாமி மற்றும் தானே புயலின் போது இந்திய மற்றும் சர்வதேச தொண்டு நிறுவனங்களுடன் இணைந்து பணியாற்றியுள்ளார். ஏகலோகம் புகைப்படக்கலை அறக்கட்டளையின் இணை நிறுவனர் ஆவார்.

ராஜா தீன் தயாள் / சுய உருவப்படம் / மூலம் - இணையத்தளம்
ராஜா தீன் தயாள் / சுய உருவப்படம் / மூலம் – இணையத்தளம்

புகைப்படக்கலை, நவீன கலைகளின் சிகரம். அன்றாட வாழ்க்கையின் ஒரு அங்கமாக ஊடுருவி விட்ட உன்னத அடையாளம். காட்சி ரூபங்களிலும் காட்சியகப்படுத்துவதிலும் பண்டைய தமிழக மக்கள் கொண்டிருந்த ஈடுபாட்டினை பறைசாற்றும் கலாச்சார சின்னம். கடவுளை கலையாகவும் கலையினை கடவுளாகவும் வணங்கும் திராவிட மரபின் குறியீடு.

நண்பர் உறவினரின் புகைப்படம், மனதிற்கு பிடித்த நடிகர், நடிகைகள், கடவுள்களின் மற்றும் குருக்களின் உருவச்சித்திரம், அல்லது விருப்பமான இடம், மலர், காட்சி என ஒவ்வொரு வீட்டிலும் கட்டாயம் ஒரு புகைப்படமாவது இருக்கும்.

170px-Camera_obscura
கேமரா அப்ஸ்குரா
1024px-View_from_the_Window_at_Le_Gras,_Joseph_Nicéphore_Niépce_1926_first photograph
நிசிபோரே நியாப்சே எடுத்த புகைப்படங்களில் ஒன்று, 1826
220px-Boulevard_du_Temple_by_Daguerre
டகுரோடைப் முறையை பயன்படுத்தி டகுரோ எடுத்த முதல் புகைப்படங்களில் ஒன்று 1838

கேமரா விஞ்ஞானத்தின் (Camera Obscura) அடிப்படை ஞானம், பல நூற்றாண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பே நாம் அறிந்திருந்ததே. சங்ககால சீன தத்துவவாதி மோ டி, கணித வல்லுனர்கள் அரிஸ்டாட்டில் மற்றும் யூக்ளிட் ‘ஊசி துளை கேமரா’ குறித்து விவரமாக எழுதியுள்ளனர். ஆறாம் நூற்றாண்டிலேயே கணித வல்லுநர் அந்தேமியஸ், ‘கேமரா அப்ஸ்குரா’ என்ற இந்த நுட்பத்தை தனது ஆய்வுகளுக்கு பயன்படுத்தியுள்ளார். ஆயினும், பதினெட்டாம் நூற்றாண்டின் துவக்கத்தில் தான் புகைப்பட விஞ்ஞானம் குறித்த ஆய்வுகள் தீவிரமாக நடத்தப்பட்டன. 1820களில் பிரெஞ்சு நாட்டு விஞ்ஞானி நிசிபோரே நியாப்சே, புகைப்பட பதிவுகளை உருவாக்கினார் அவர் கையாண்ட முறைக்கு நீண்ட நாட்கள் வெளிப்பாடு அதாவது exposure நேரம் தேவைப்பட்டது. 1839ம் ஆண்டு நீயாப்சேயின் துணை விஞ்ஞானி லூயி டாகுறே, டகுரோடைப் என்ற புகைப்பட பிம்பங்கள் மற்றும் அச்சு முறையினை கண்டுபிடித்தார். குறைந்த வெளிப்பாடு நேரமும் தெளிவாக பிம்பங்களை உருவாக்கவும் செய்யும் இந்த முறையையே புகைப்பட விஞ்ஞானத்தின் முதல் கண்டுபிடிப்பாக அங்கீகரிக்கப்படுகிறது. சார் ஜான் ஹெர்ஷெல் இவ்வாறு உருவாக்கப்பட்ட அச்சுகளுக்கு ‘’Photography”, அதாவது ஒளியினால் வரையப்படும் ஓவியம் என்ற பெயரை வழங்குகிறார். போடோக்ராபி என்ற ஆங்கில சொல்லிற்கு தமிழில் மட்டும் தான் ‘புகைப்படம்’ என்ற தனிச்சொல் உள்ளது. ஐரோப்பாவில் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்ட குறுகிய காலக்கட்டத்திலேயே, புகைப்பட விஞ்ஞானம் ஆங்கிலேய அரசால் இந்தியாவிற்கு அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்டது. இந்தியாவின் உலர்ந்த வெப்ப நிலையிற்கு ஏதுவாக ட்ரை ப்ளேட் முறையும் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டது. தற்பொழுது பாரம்பரிய முறைகளில் ஒன்றாக கருதப்படும் டகுரோடைப் முறையில், ரசம் போன்ற ஆபத்தான உலோகங்கள் வெளியிடும் புகையினால் பிம்பங்கள் உருவாக்கப்பட்டன. இவ்வாறு புகையினால் உருவாக்கப்படும் படமானதால் தான் தமிழர் போட்டோக்ராப்பிற்கு புகைப்படம்’ என பெயரிட்டனர். ஆபத்தான ரசம் போன்ற உலோகங்களை பயன்படுத்தியதால், புகைப்படக்கலைஞர்களை ரசசித்தர் என்று அழைக்கும் வழக்கமும் இருந்தது.

ஆரம்பக்காலக்கட்டத்தில் புகைப்படங்கள், ஆன்மாவினை சிறைப்படுத்தும், ஆயுளை குறைக்கும் என்றும், சூட் என்ற ஆங்கில வார்த்தை, சுடு, கொல் என்று காலனித்துவ பீதியினை உருவாக்கவும் செய்தது. ஆயினும், இந்தியாவினை ஒரு இலக்காக மாற்ற, ஆங்கில அரசு, இந்திய நாட்டின் சிறப்பை பறைசாற்றும் விதத்தில், ராணுவத்தின் உதவியோடு அழகிய புகைப்படங்களை எடுத்தனர். இந்தியாவில், மனிதரை உண்பவர் உள்ளனர், நோய் மற்றும் பஞ்சம் மட்டுமே உள்ளது என்ற கருத்தை மாற்ற, வானுயர்ந்த கட்டிட பாரம்பரியம், எளிய வாழ்வுமுறை, அழகிய பெண்கள், நிலப்பரப்பு என இந்தியாவின் செல்வங்களை, புகைப்பட பிம்பங்கள் மூலம் உலகிற்கு ஆங்கிலேயர் பறைசாற்றி வந்தனர். அப்போதைய காலக்கட்டத்தில், புகைப்படங்கள் எடுப்பது இப்போது போல் சுலபமானதல்ல. அதிகம் செலவும் தேவையானது. அதனால் தான் வெளிநாட்டவர், வெளிநாட்டவரோடு தொடர்பு உள்ள இந்திய அரசர்கள் மற்றும் ஜமீன்தார்கள் மட்டுமே இந்த கலையினை கையாண்டு வந்தனர்.

புகைப்பட விஞ்ஞானம், ஒரு காலனித்துவ கருவியாக, இந்தியாவின் விசித்திரமான அம்சங்களை உலகிற்கு பறைசாற்றி வந்தது. அதே சமயத்தில் சுதந்திர போராட்டத்தின் போது, இதே கருவி, காலனித்துவ அராஜகத்தையும் வெளிச்சம் போட்டு காட்டியது. இந்தியன் ம்யுடினி என்றழைக்கப்படும் 1857ம் ஆண்டின் இந்தியாவில் நடைபெற்ற கிளர்ச்சியினை வெளிநாட்டவர் பலரும் புகைப்படம் எடுத்தனர். அது இந்தியாவின் காலனித்துவ ஆட்சின் அராஜகத்தை பலருக்கும் வெளிச்சம் போட்டு காட்டும் விதத்தில் அமைந்தது.

இந்த தாக்கத்திலிருந்து இந்தியாவின் நிலைபாட்டையும், பெருமைமிகு சொத்துகள் என்று இந்தியாவின் மாளிகைகளையும், மக்களையும் சிறப்பம்சமாக காண்பிக்கும் புகைபப்டக்கலைஞர்களுக்கு, ஆங்கில அரசு பெரும் ஆதரவு அளித்தது. இவ்வாறு இந்தியாவைப் பற்றிய உலகின் பார்வையை மாற்றி அமைத்த பத்தொன்பதாம் நூற்றாண்டு புகைப்படங்களை எடுத்தவர்களில், இந்தியப் புகைப்படக்கலையின் ராஜா என்றழைக்கப்படும் லாலா தீன் தயாள் (ராஜா தீன் தயாள்) குறிப்பிடத்தக்கவர். உத்தர பிரதேசத்தில் உள்ள சர்தனாவில் 1844ம் ஆண்டு பிறந்தார். பொறியாளராக ரூர்கியில் உள்ள கல்லூரியில் தேர்ச்சி பெற்றார். ரூர்கி கல்லூரியில், பிரிட்டிஷ் அரசாங்கத்தாரால் 1854ம் வருடம் புகைப்படம் ஒரு பாடமாக அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்டது. 1866ம் வருடம், தலைமை கணக்காளர் மற்றும் வரைவாளராக இண்டோர் அரசவையில் தீன் தயாள் பணியில் சேர்ந்தார். அதே சமயத்தில் புகைப்படம் எடுப்பதிலும் ஆர்வம் காட்டினார். மகாராஜா டூகோஜி ராவ் தான் அவரது முதல் புரவலர். நாளடைவில் ஆங்கில கவர்னர் ஜெனரல் ஹென்றி டாலி (டாலி கல்லூரியின் நிர்வாகி) தீன் தயாளின் புகைப்படங்களை கண்டு விருப்பம் கொண்டு ஒரு புகைப்படத்தொழிலகம் துவங்க தூண்டினார். இண்டோரில் துவங்கப்பட்ட இந்த வர்த்தக ஸ்டுடியோவிற்கு பற்பல வாய்ப்புகள் ஆங்கில அரசு கொடுத்து வந்தது.

1870களில்ஆங்கில அரசினரால், இந்திய கலாச்சாரம், மற்றும் பாரம்பரியத்தை மேம்படுத்தும் விதமான புகைப்படங்களை உருவாக்கித் தருமாறு கேட்டுக்கொள்ளப்பட்டார். சில காலங்களுக்குப்பிறகு இவர் மும்பையிலும் ஹைதராபாத்திலும் ஒளிப்படத்தொழிலகம் கிளைகளை துவங்கினார். ஹைதராபாத்தின் ஆறாம் நிசாம் மஹ்பூப் அலி கான் அசிப் ஜாஹ் அரசவையில் அரசாங்க புகைப்படக்கலைஞராக நியமிக்கப்பட்டார். பின்பு 1885ம் ஆண்டு ஆங்கில அரசினரால் அரசாங்க புகைப்படக்கலைஞராக நியமிக்கப்பட்டார். 1897ம் ஆண்டு ராணி விக்டோரியாவால் ராயல் வாரான்ட், அதாவது முன்பெல்லாம் அரசுகளுடன் வணிகம் புரியும் சிறந்த வணிகர்களுக்கு அரசவைகள் அங்கீகாரம் அளிக்குமல்லவா,. அது போலவே, அவர் இந்தியாவில் எடுக்கும் புகைப்படங்களுக்கு அங்கீகாரம் கொடுத்து, அவரின் புகைப்படங்களை வாங்க அரசாணை விடுத்தது.

அதன் பிறகு, அரசு மற்றும் அரசு விருந்துனர்களின் இந்திய பயணங்கள் பலவற்றையும் ஆவணம் செய்தார் தீன் தயாள். அவரது புகைப்படங்களில் ரம்மியமான கண்ணைக்கவரும் காட்சிகளும், மாட மாளிகை கட்டிடங்களும், நினைவுச்சின்னங்களும், கோவில்களும், வளம் மிகுந்த அரசினரின் மற்றும் அரசு குடும்பங்களின் உருவச்சித்திரமும், நதி, மலை, அருவி என இயற்கை செல்வங்களும், காட்சிக்கு இதமான பெண்களும் மிகுந்து காணப்படும். வெளிநாட்டவர், இந்தியாவிற்கு வருவதற்கும் இங்கு முதலீடு செய்வதற்கும் எதெல்லாம் தூண்டுமோ, அவையெல்லாம் நேர்த்தியான தொழில் நுட்பம் மற்றும் தீன் தயாளின் அழகியல் திறத்துடன் கலந்து புகைப்படப்பதிவுகளாக, காண்பவர் மனதினை கவர்ந்தது. அந்த சமயங்களில் இருந்த புகைப்பட ஸ்டுடியோக்களிலேயே மிகவும் சிறப்பு வாய்ந்ததாக விளங்கிய தீன் தயாள் ஸ்டுடியோவிற்கு, ராஜாக்கள், ஆங்கிலேயே அதிகாரிகள் பலரும் புகைப்படம் எடுக்க ஆர்டர் கொடுத்தனர். பத்தொன்பவதாவது நூற்றாண்டின் சிறந்த புகைப்பட ஆவணங்களை உருவாக்கிய, புகைப்பட உலகின் ராஜா என்றழைக்கப்பட்ட தீன் தயாள், 1905ம் ஆண்டு இயற்கை எய்தினார்.

தீன் தயாள், காலனித்துவ மற்றும் நிலவுடைமை கொண்டிருந்த அதிகார வர்க்கத்தின் சேவகராக, தீவிர பிரச்சாரகராக, தந்திரமான வர்த்தகராக தன்னை பிரதிபாலித்துக்கொண்டு, புகைப்படம் எடுத்து வந்தாலும், தற்பொழுது அவரது புகைப்படங்கள், அழிந்து மறைந்துவிட்ட ஒரு காலத்தின் கல்வெட்டாக உயர்ந்து நிற்கிறது. இவரது அரிய புகைப்படங்கள் பலவும் வெளிநாட்டில் உள்ளது. அவரது ஸ்டுடியோவில் மீதம் இருந்த, பெரும்பாலும் நிராகரிக்கப்பட்ட, அல்லது வேண்டாம் என்று தானே ஆர்டர் கொடுத்தவரிடம் கொடுக்காது மாற்றி வைத்த பிளேட்டுகள் பலவற்றையும், சமீபத்தில் IGNCA வாங்கி, பாதுகாத்து வருகிறது. அன்னாரது முப்பது ஆண்டு புகைப்படபயணம் இன்றும் இந்தியாவின் சிறந்த ஆவணமாக இப்பொழுதும் நிலைத்து நிற்கிறது.

(தொடரும்)

இந்த பதிப்பிலுள்ள புகைப்படங்கள் மற்றும் படைப்புகளின் பதிப்புரிமை படைப்பாசிரியரின் உரிமை ஆகும். மீண்டும் பிரசரிப்பதற்கோ வேறு பதிப்புகளில் உபயோகப்படுத்துவதற்கோ இ.டி.பி. நிறுவனத்தின் (Project 365 பொதுக்களஞ்சியம்) முன் அனுமதி அவசியம். மேலும் தகவல் அறிய  {0}94879 56405 / admin@etpindia.org

Close encounters: 365days myopic view

{ Essay on photography by Arjun Ramachandran, a media student with interests in cinema and photography. 365 days myopic is a smart phone photographic series done by photographer Abul Kalam Azad, as a contribution to Project 365 public photo archive Tiruvannamalai. In this unique, expansive body of work Abul records the everyday life in the ancient town, Tiruvannamalai. Abul is the Director of Project 365, and co-founder of Ekalokam Trust for Photography.}

Since the advent of digital technology and its fast growth, we have been carelessly misplacing or erasing much of the images we produce, “safely” storing them in the long forgotten floppy discs, CD drives, USB drives, old mobile phones, cameras etc. Photography, which is essentially a print, has been stripped of its traditional alchemical quality and longevity, and has almost completely become mere virtual intangible images. While this digitization has undoubtedly democratised the medium and stretched the horizons of thought of its practitioners, the danger is, in an instant, the innumerable casual-yet-valuable images that are being made can be lost forever to our future generations.

Digital recording is, largely, mere magnetisation of a material or optical marks made on a surface. The unwanted and untrue connotation that the word “digital” has acquired is that it is only presentable on a screen; “digital” only really means quantised, non-continuous data. On the basis of this misunderstanding, we have been storing digital images for the purpose of virtual viewing alone and by nature, digital recording is much more vulnerable to damage compared to analogue (read continuous) recording. A stray magnetic field is enough to wipe out a hard disk.

Even though several thousand photographs are being taken every day, by nearly everyone, only a very few provide thoughtful and focused efforts to preserve these photographs like yesteryear epigraphical documentation or other iconographic motifs for the benefit of future generations. This is as much an effect of seeming unnecessity and non-viability as it is of gross negligence. Documents are only valuable for those who see a use for it many years down the line, and not for those who do not intend to pay a second thought to the matter. Smart phone photographs, therefore, seem trivial and replicable for the majority of the authors and as such, irrelevant. These photographs may not be printable in larger formats, may not be commercially viable, but in an archive, they serve well the intended purpose – a visual document of ordinary people and their everyday life in an ancient town.


Abul Kalam Azad has been making smart phone photographs as connecting anecdotes for project 365. He has created several hundred lo-fi images depicting the life and culture of this ancient town, recording routine or chance meetings, casual events or details of his own daily life. Project 365 public photo archives will be locally preserving these images for public access and research. Setting aside his expertise in analogue & experimental photographic works and after traversing through digital, painted, manipulated images, Abul has consciously shifted to smart phone image making in a bid to utilise its nuances.


Smart phone images readily seem to bring in an element of autobiography. The daily events are most often captured through them, almost always in a moment of subconscious composition and judgement. There is a lack of formality or any veil of pretention that a bulky professional camera might induce even though the pretentions and mannerisms of the “real world” remain intact, as the smart phone remains nearly invisible between the subject and the artist. Even in staged portraits captured on smart phones, the posture of the subject becomes much freer. The smart phone becomes something of a non-intervening observer, not affecting the system at all.

The myopic eye of smart phone demands that the photographer has to be within a certain “intimate” distance to take a photograph. There has to be a certain connection between the one who is being photographed and the photographer himself – using a smart phone to create portraits of people means that the photographer is not a mere witness; the one who is photographed often looks straight into the camera and thus, at the photographer. A reflection of the effect of eye contact between the photographer and the subject is captured in the portrait.


This presence of intimacy is what a spectator relates to in these images. As personal spaces become increasingly reserved and physical contact becomes restricted in a wave of conservative urban-elite influence, this welcome intrusion of a nonprofessional-appearing, smart-phone-wielding photographer into touching distances of the subject is a reminder of the extent of simplicity and freedom in human relationships.

Disclaimer: Photographs and text published in this post is copyrighted property of the author. Prior permission is required from the author for republishing and reprinting. For more information, contact Ekalokam Trust for Photography at admin@etpindia.org

R Nandakumar on Photography – between reproduction and representation

Photography (C) TS Sathyan / Image taken from internet

{ R. Nandakumar is an art historian and culture critic. He has taught art history and aesthetics in various Fine Arts colleges and has been Professor and Head of the Department of Visual Arts in Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. Formerly a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, he has currently been a Senior Nehru Fellow at Teen Murti Bhawan, New Delhi.

As an art historian though visual arts is his home discipline, cultural musicology is another major area of his research interest. His works in both have appeared in important academic journals and they address areas of intercultural concern from the perspective of the sociology of culture. }

Umrao Sher-gil
Photography (C) Umrao Sher-gil / image taken from internet

The art enthusiast who is confirmed in “his ability to adopt the posture socially designated as specifically aesthetic” (Pierre Bourdieu’s words), often feels let down in his self-assured aesthetic gaze while watching a photograph, whether documentary or the so-called art mounted on the walls of a gallery. While studying the aesthetic attitude of various classes of people to the photographic image, Bourdieu found that the value attributed to the photographic image as an aesthetic object corresponded to the value attributed to the thing of which it is a photograph. That is to say, people found many of “the objects unsuitable for being transfigured by the act of artistic promotion performed by photography.” What exactly is the nature of this artistic promotion performed by photography that transfigures objects? Or, is there any, for that matter? A photograph of foot prints on the sands is just that – the sign of somebody having passed through the sandy stretch before the camera – until a certain metaphorical intent as articulated in the field of discourse of the aesthetic is appropriated by the visual referential of the image which would have us take it for “the foot prints on the sands of Time.” For many, the photographic image is too real, too mundane and too immediate to evoke the psychic distance called for in the traditional aesthetic gaze that would assign it to the culture-neutral domain of rarefied aesthetic. All the more so when the content of the image would have implications of a non-art kind that cannot be wished away under the rubric of the aesthetic. I mean, political implications. Even those aesthetes would be increasingly aware of the difficulty in distinguishing between the aesthetic and the informative at the level of message as the affinity that art has with information and communication is ever more becoming a matter of course in any contemporary experience of the environment that is all but an aestheticised simulation of a spectacle. It is the simulacrum of such an environment that configured through the representations of photographic imagizing, but still in the offing in the fifties of the last century, that Richard Hamilton alludes to when he said:

In the fifties we became more aware of the possibility of seeing the whole world, at once, through the great visual matrix that surrounds us, a synthetic ‘instant’ view. Cinema, television, magazines, newspapers flood the artist with a total landscape and this new visual ambience was photographic, reportage rather than art photography in the main.1

What is to be noted is that photography has already established its coexistence with the systems of information and communication, making good its own susceptibility to be manipulated by words – by way of captions and accompanying text. In fact, Walter Benjamin seems to have been aware of what the caption can do to a photograph when he asked whether the captions would not become the essential component of pictures.2

Photography (C) Raja Deen Dayal / image taken from internet
Photography (C) Raja Deen Dayal / image taken from internet

That is one side of the story. In spite of such common attitudes, however, what is amazing is the amount of theorizing and philosophizing that is going on about photography which only shows how the academic enterprise is still at a loss to come to terms with the aesthetic rationale of photography even as it has outlived in practice the situation in which theory still tends to circumscribe it. The two issues that figure time and again in the ‘great photography debate’ running the whole course of the history of the medium and getting into the conceptualizations of early film theorists like Andre Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer, are centred around the notions of the authenticity of the photographic image and its ontological status. (In fact, Rudolf Arnheim titles one of his essays of 1993: “The Two Authenticities of the Photographic Media”3). All through this century-old polemic the unstated reference points are those drawn from the system of binaries of mind/machine, or art/fact, or representation/indexicality that keep changing only their terminological garb according to whatever is the current intellectual vogue. A look at some of the leading Anglo-American academic journals of art-theory and aesthetics over the last couple of decades will show how a speculative and hypothetical method of theorizing combining empirical reasoning and argumentative logic is pressed into service to score a point and make a case in defence of photography. The logically clever resourcefulness of those arguments that apparently have some claims to be formulating their views along the lines of the super-genre of theory veers between an apology for and a defence of photography for not being art: “Representation, all right. But reproduction, all the same!” Here is an instance of theory becoming redundant and out of step with the context of practice of what it theorizes as embodied in the new experience of the medium. Only very few of them show a different conceptual orientation informed at the same time by a new sensibility that can renegotiate the older aesthetic concepts in the light of the new experience of the medium.

Such discussions are quite often centred on the construction versus transcription paradigm where each term is defined along premises that would enable it to be pitted against the other in a traditional system of binaries. But it is the latent dualism of the photographic image between construction and transcription that endows it with its peculiar aesthetic rationale, as it is rooted in its very visual mechanism. Because of its counterfactual dependence on the motif depicted it is a transcription and at the same time, by virtue of the manner in which it characterizes the motif subject to its given methods of depiction, it is a construction. Even when a photograph looks unmediated, without human intervention in the realization of its image, and hence signifying the absence of the author, the absence itself is a construction. This also causes a peculiar ambivalence in the relation of the viewer to a photograph – in the casual and undemanding identification of the viewer with it. In the Albertian perspectival system the fixed point of the viewer is a metaphor that is presupposed in the organizing principle of the painting that lends credence to the depiction of the pictorial space as closed, centred and contained within the frame. But the photograph, however more organized it is than normal vision in terms of the perspective orthogonal and provides more visual information than a perspectival painting, does not have an interior perspective that conforms to any purpose and in that sense affords only far less a grip on the depicted world, as Max Kozloff observes.4 That is to say, unlike in the case of an Albertian perspectival painting, the viewer does not find himself being addressed by a photograph and is not invited into its space. The characteristically unstable relations among the various elements of a photograph’s optic array that results from this, even when it is a ‘composed’ one, are suggestive of a state of flux, a continuum as exists outside and independent of the frame which it is only a segment of. The composed optic array within the frame and the randomness which it suggests of the physical disarray outside the frame are bound by a causal symmetry and yet are different, creating a subtle imbalance that is built into the optics of the photographic image. The fact that this is not an empirically given precondition of perception, in the sense in which it is characterized as a message without a code, but something we have learned to read through cultural conventions, is relevant for any understanding of the signifying process of the photographic image. This in fact accounts for what Irving Singer refers to as               the wonder that we all feel in the presence of realistic photography. He says: “What looks so much alike is nevertheless so different – not just different in some attribute, but also ontologically different.”5

Photography (C) Sunil Janah / image taken from internet
Photography (C) Sunil Janah / image taken from internet

In as much as the optical mechanism of the camera obscura could not do away with the perspective orthogonal, it can be said to have anticipated photography via the Albertian perspectival painting. It is only a happy coincidence that the pictorial conventions initiated by the European Renaissance were to have anticipated the aesthetic rationale of photography coming, as it did, four centuries later when those very conventions have ran their course and were on the retreat. The normative preconditions that those conventions set for certain perceptual modalities were found to be concurrent with the more empirical processes of image-making of photography which in a way helped put the real back into the gross matter of reality. That is, the gross matter of tangible reality that makes up the phenomenal world as engaged by the human perceptual apparatus and mediated by the human consciousness but at the same time, is independent of the perceiver as attested to by its empirical existence. This is a status that man-made image in its whole history of being either a projection of himself on to the external world or an appropriation of it by him, did not have so far. Images which as Arnheim says, in the course of our civilization we have come to use as tools of contemplation.

We have set them up as a world of their own, separate from the world they depict, so that they may have their own completeness and develop more freely their particular style. These virtues, however, are outweighed by the anxiety such a detachment arouses when the mind cannot afford it because its own hold on reality has loosened too much. Under such conditions, the foot-lights separating a world of make-believe from its counterpart and the frame which protects the picture from merging with its surroundings become a handicap.6 [emphasis added]

The square or rectangular inset of the frame that closes in on a segment of the visual field does not simply present that visual field but it represents that visual field by qualitatively modifying and characterising the spatial relations among objects by introducing new dimensions in the relations between the figure and the field, figure and the ground and, by eliminating the ambient peripheral vision, between the figure, the field and the frame. Here things are cut at half-length by the edges of the frame and they spill out not contained by it. In other words, they do not follow the inner logic of any organizing principle to form a coherent, stable inner order, however ‘composed’ the frames are. Nor does it enclose a closed, centred spatial field contained and held together by the frame as whatever is within it is only consistent with all that is beyond it. This particular relation of the frame to the ‘unframed’ view of the camera was not something unknown to the artists as, for example, the plein air painters and artists like Degas who got the better of it. In any case, the image that freed itself from the protective limits of the frame, thus enabling it to merge with its surroundings and ceasing to be a tool of contemplation, was closer in the experience it embodied to a contemporary reality perception.  

Photography (C) Kishore Parekh / image taken from internet
Photography (C) Kishore Parekh / image taken from internet

From the foregoing it is hoped that the aspects of the orthogonal, perspective, frame and so on are shown to have a distinct nonpainterly, anti-graphic orientation in photography and have a value of their own in photogenic imagizing. So far so good. That said, it may sound to be falling for the argument that these elements go into the making of a universal ‘language’ of photography, if language that be. Now, in the present day practice, as the way it has come about, the photographic idiom surely has more than a touch of the international about it, though. But this is in sharp contradistinction to the early practice of the medium, especially in many non-western cultures. An interesting case of photography when it arrived for the first time in India in the pre-industrial, pre-modern era is studied by Judith Mara Gutman who argues that “a Western role, function, and use of the camera” did not enter the world of Indian photographers. In denaturing the specific attributes of optical realism of the medium, especially in the use of space, their methods were more in line with the norms of Indian painterly traditions, she observes.

Indian photographers followed in the painter’s foot steps, often flattening a picture’s space, creating a field of interest with multiple pockets of interest, no one pocket any more important than another. Sometimes, they created two planes in a photograph, essentially negating a middle distance, thereby emulating a favourite pattern developed by Indian painters. At other times, three horizontal planes, as so often appeared throughout Indian painting, appeared in their photographs…Adapting, rather than adopting, the Westerner’s equipment, the Indian photographers used the camera to reflect and extend an Indian conception of reality…These images did without vanishing points, for instance, just as the great store of Indian paintings had. Several pockets of interest ranged across a picture plane in such a way that they seemed to expand the picture’s space and run out to the picture frame’s edge, or even beyond it.7[emphasis added]

What strikes us as different about those photographs is in fact in their very manner of being more or less artisanal in moorings, having had close affinities with the pre-industrial craft traditions of the country and not the product of any self-conscious hankering after style to vindicate their Indian ‘identity’. What is equally important is how such early practices gave way to a standardized formal procedure of an international idiom subject to the compulsions of the techno-industrial environment of photographic practice dictated by trans-national capital, finally making those early works look naïve and unsophisticated through our cultural unlearning. One is also reminded of an early Japanese film maker like Mizoguchi who had adapted the cinematographic idiom to be more in tune with the pictorial conventions and spatial organization of the traditional Japanese horizontal narrative scroll painting.

Photography (C) Raghu Rai / image taken from internet
Photography (C) Raghu Rai / image taken from internet

Richard Shiff argues that in the historical situation of photography in which it has come to appropriate all claims to reality, it does so by virtue of a character of what he calls catachresis. The propositions on which he argues the case are:

[…](1) at any moment in history the value of all representation depends on the existence of some representation that can be regarded as transparent, realistic, or natural; (2) during the modern era photography has provided a kind of fabricated image that can successfully masquerade as a natural one; (3) as such, photography plays the role of a proper (but not literal) term in opposition to painting’s figured term. A rhetorician would say that photography plays catachresis to painting’s metaphor…We can accept the photograph as “natural” by comparison with other kinds of images and see how deeply implicated in a system of arbitrary signs it is.8

According to Shiff, though photography is not itself unfigured, it renders all other forms of representation more figured than itself and in the process becomes the ‘proper’, that is, the acceptable norm of all image of the real. Photography achieves this, he argues, through phototropism – photography’s peculiar turn or manner of figuration – by subverting the sense of proper representation. “The photograph is neither proper nor figured, neither properly documentary nor properly art; the photograph is a catachresis.”9

Photography (C) S. Paul / image taken from internet
Photography (C) S. Paul / image taken from internet

This is the point of the paradoxical relation between factuality and artifice or, put differently, between simulacrum and point of view – a relation that is positioned between the optic and the visual as the paradigm of perception in photography. It is commonplace to say that the camera is only recording what there is for any one to see at the time. And what one sees will be informed by what one is looking for as much as by what one brings to bear on what is thus seen – whereby the notional subject becomes content and the content becomes form in the image of the representation (remembering the oft-heard saying to the opposite effect). Though unreflective, unfigured and unrepresentational (that is, not informed by representational thought, a la Roger Scruton10), the photographic image, in the way it materializes, involves a multiplicity of processes of selection and omission guided by conscious decisions and unconscious predilections of the person who handles the equipment. In other words, the apparently transcriptional nature of the image is itself the result of artifice. The subtle dualism between the all-at-onceness of the counterfactual dependence of the photograph on its object on the one hand, and an artifice the transparency of which made it possible, on the other, creates an unsettling ambivalence which is inherent to the aesthetic context of the media’s realism. The stronger the artifice, the stronger is the transparency and never the other way round. In his introductory essay to Richard Avedon’s portrait photographs, Harold Rosenberg notes: “The nineteenth century made the revolutionary discovery that artifice – or, if one prefers, metaphor – is inherent in things; in short, that there is a truth of surfaces…In the nineteenth century, the secrecy of Being is dissipated into patterns of unprivileged data.”11 That the genesis of photography coincided with such a notion of the truth of surfaces as a function of artifice, made the artifice of photographic realism less problematic. It is only that the causal and counterfactual identity between the thing-in-itself and the image as sign in relation to the content of the thing, of which it is the expression, was perfectly tenable with the cultural conventions of the nineteenth century life world.

48196_std
Photography (C) GG Welling / Image taken from internet

However, the artifactual transparency of the photographic image has more to it than this. The imagized transparency of the photograph is, in fact, endowed with the primal opacity of the object-in-itself as engrained in the “optic unconscious”12 that is constitutive of the domain of photographic realism and the peculiar perceptual modality that it entails. This primal opacity of the object is the attribute of its materiality in the state of immanence in time, which it withholds from being engaged by the human consciousness at least momentarily. This takes us close to the observation of Siegfried Kracauer who after distinguishing between the two spatial appearances of objects – ‘the natural’ one and that of the object permeated by cognition – notes:

By sacrificing the former for the sake of the latter the artwork also negates the likeness achieved by photography. This likeness refers to the look of the object, which does not immediately divulge how it reveals itself to cognition; the artwork, however, conveys nothing but the transparency of the object.10 [emphasis added]

If the phrase “This likeness refers to…” in the sentence quoted is to be taken to mean not as the word ‘likeness’ alluding to, but rather as the aspect of likeness signifying – it makes an interesting proposition. In that sense, it is not that the aspect of likeness achieved by photography is to be equated with the look of the object or that it evokes the look of the object, but that it only signifies the look of the object. Which is to say that it is a representation (subject to the media-specific conventions of photogenic imagizing) of the idea of the object and not (the reproduction of) the object itself, however illusionistic a replication of the appearance of the object it is. This look of the object in the likeness of which the photograph imagizes it is the irrevocable icon of the object-in-itself in its unmediated state of being as it precedes human cognition in the interactive process of perception-consciousness, as what appears to be given to perception is itself a function of perception. Photography retrieves this fleeting opacity of the object that is lost to consciousness as a function of the truth of surfaces – but as truth that is lost in the transparency of fact.

 

Photography (C) Kulwant Roy / Image taken from internet
Photography (C) Kulwant Roy / Image taken from internet

Now, I come to the last part of my argument. Taking the cue from Kracauer and extending his argument, is it that the artwork (painting, for our purpose) that concerns itself with the transparency of the object has at its disposal only the fact that is a leftover of truth? Without getting into the painting versus photography wrangle, I would like to suggest the possibility that the very basic difference between the two is that of an aspect of the faculty of perception. In the natural binocular stereoscopic perception the perceiver is always placed within the field of perception – he sees the world as himself seen within it and sees himself as seeing the world in a primal subject/object relation, with the spatial and temporal reference points being himself as the perceiver. It is around such a sense of the self on which the spatio-temporal reference points of the act of perception converge that the endless multiplicity of fragmentary visual stimuli is organized and oriented into the dimensional and directional experience of an unbroken perceptual continuum (temporal) and an engulfing perceptual ambience (spatial). The experience of such a unified visual field is rendered possible only by a perceptual apparatus in which is engrained the experience of space as coinherent in and coincident with that of time, the unconsciously perceived reference points of which are integrated into the sense of the self. As Edmund Leach has once observed in passing: “…we manage to recognize things as things and events as events by refusing to recognize the spatial and temporal boundaries where one chunk of space-time merges into the next.” And he goes on to add immediately that this is what cultural conventions are all about.11 The welter of superimposed sensory stimuli that crowd in on our visual perception – which hypothetically would be a mass of disparate ‘snap shots’ – is integrated into the spatio-temporal matrix of our experiential world by this unconscious refusal to acknowledge them individually. It is against the latent background of the ego-centred vertical/horizontal axis that these disparate ‘snap shots’ are integrated through what in phenomenological terms is called the “etc. principle” to define the events and the existents in terms of their continuity in time and extension in space. The sense of the self is that which is realized by the vertically oriented viewing subject (related to the complex psycho-physical make up of evolutionary bipedality and the emergence of the brain/mind/self constellation) against the horizontal directiveness of the physical, terrestrial lifeworld which latter is internalized as the unconscious symbolic axis of all syntactical connectedness and associative linearity of cognitive processes. Painting articulates the dynamics of this subject-object relation in the act of perception which inevitably has to embody the dimension of time as duration in its visual ontology.

TS Sathyan
Photography (C) TS Sathyan / Image taken from internet

But how does painting achieve this? The mediated and reflective language of representation of painting, in the forbiddingly precise formulation of Leo Steinberg, is “the fashioning of graphic symbols to act as analogues for certain areas of visual experience which are transmuted and reduced to symbolic pattern.”12 Among these areas of visual experience that Steinberg mentions, which are more than that evoked by the object sighted, not the least important is the unconscious experience of the act of seeing (itself involving time) through the constant scanning of the visual field by the shifting of focus, turning of the eye and the head and the sensations of the ocular muscles in controlling the eye movement – all that ‘little sensations’ of Cezanne. The experiential context in which each painting is located involves the triadic relation between the perceiver, the perceived and the act of perceiving. To take one example, the isotopic homogeneity of pictorial space of a typical Renaissance painting that is defined by the simultaneity of momentary views accommodated within it (in relation to the spatial location of the viewer which it presupposes) is collateral with the continuity of linear time as a serial passage (in relation to the temporal present of the viewer) defined by the succession of momentary points along the durational aspect of time.

Now, coming to the photograph – in materializing its image the photograph takes the percept out of this event-existent correlation and divests it of the temporality of its being-in-itself. The monocular, enframed and projective space of the photograph is that in which the object existed in a particular chunk of space-time from where time has ebbed off. In the normal perceptual experience this chunk of space-time has its boundaries lost to consciousness in the continuity of the object’s existence in time and the extension of its existence in space that is basic to the perceptual experience of the object in space. This, I maintain, accounts for the often felt timelessness of the photographic image – the kind of deja` vu that one experiences before the prints of Eugene Atget that haunted the imagination of the Surrealists.

(*Published in Nandan: An annual on Art and Aesthetics, vol. 23, 2003, Department of History of Art, Santiniketan, Visvabharati University. An earlier version of the paper was presented at the seminar on Photography, The KHOJ International Artists’ Workshop, Bangalore, November 3, 2002.)

Notes and References

  1. Richard Hamilton, Studio International, March 1966.
  2. It will not always be possible to link this authenticity [of the photograph] with reportage, whose clichés associate themselves only verbally in the viewer. The camera will become smaller and smaller, more and more prepared to grasp fleeting, secret images whose shock will bring the mechanism of association in the viewer to a complete halt. At this point captions must begin to function, captions which understand the photography which turns all the relations of life into literature, and without which all photographic construction must remain bound in coincidences. Walter Benjamin, “Walter Benjamin’s Short History of Photography”1), tr. Phil Patton, Art Forum, (February 1977), p. 51. See also for a discussion on the relation of the photographic image with the caption: Nigel Warburton, “Photographic Communication”, British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 28, no. 2 (Spring 1988), 173 – 181.
  1. Siegfried Kracauer, “The Two Authenticities of the Photographic Media”, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 51, no. 4 (Fall 1993), p.537 – 540.
  2. Max Kozloff, “The Awning that Flapped in the Breeze and the Bodies that Littered the Field: Painting and the Invention of Photography”, Art Forum, vol. 20, no. 1(September 1981), p. 53 – 60.
  3. Irving Singer, “Santayana and the Ontology of the Photographic Image,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 36, no. 1, (Fall 1977), p.39 – 43.
  4. Rudolf Arnheim, “Art Today and the Film”, Art Journal, vol.25, no. 3 (Spring 1966), p.242.
  5. Judith Mara Gutman, “Through Indian eyes: Indigenous photography in the subcontinent”, IMPACT of science on society, No. 168, (vol. 42, no. 4) 1992, p. 347 – 48. Gutman illustrates her essay with six chosen photographs with captions like: ‘Prya Lal’s son,’ ca. 1885, ‘Nizam’s noble’s with Raj officials,’ ca. 1880, ‘Landowner who loves music,’ 1870, ‘Party after Shikar,’ ca. 1890, ‘Police unit,’ ca. 1900 and ‘Transporters’ from Marwari census, 1891.
  6. Richard Shiff, “Phototropism (Figuring the Proper)”, Retaining the Original: Multiple Originals, Copies, and Reproductions; Studies in the History of Art, vol. 20, ed., Kathleen Preciado, University of New England, 1989, p. 161 – 179.
  7. ibid. p. 174.
  8. Roger Scruton, “Photography and Representation,” Critical Inquiry, vol. 7, no. 3(Spring 1981), p.577 – 603.
  9. Harold Rosenberg, Portraits: Richard Avedon, Thames and Hudson, London, 1976.
  10. Walter Benjamin, cit.
  11. Siegfried Kracauer, “Photography” (1927), Critical Inquiry, vol. 19, no. 3, (1993), p.421 – 454.
  12. Edmund Leach, “Profanity and Context”, New Scientist, London, October 20, 1977.
  13. Leo Steinberg, “Eye is part of the Mind,” Other Criteria, Oxford University Press, (London 1972), p.293.

Disclaimer: Photographs and text published in this post is copyrighted property of the author. Prior permission is required from the author for republishing and reprinting. For more information, contact Ekalokam Trust for Photography at admin@etpindia.org

 

 

 

 

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Title: Colors of Tiruvannamalai
Photographer: Dinesh Khanna
Medium and format: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Title: 360degrees ecology of ancient Annamalai Hill
Photographer: Jiby Charles
Medium: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Title: Children of different gods
Photographer: Ami Gupta
Medium: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Title: Folklore practitioners and indigenous herbs
Photographer: Pee Vee
Medium and format: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified Dravidian society of ancient Tamilakam, a region comprising modern Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.

Project 365 Tiruvannamalai

D'note from the PROJECT 365

Title: Deepam
Photographer: Biju Ibrahim
Medium: Digital
Year: 2014 / 2015
Courtesy: EtP Project 365 public photo archive

EtP PROJECT 365 is a public photo-art project that collectively creates and preserves photographic visual of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town. All images published in this page is a copyrighted property of the author and is part of EtP Project 365 public photo archive. Prior permission is required for commercial and other public use.

இ. டி. பி. ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365
அதி வேகமாய் மாறி வருகின்ற நவீன தமிழ்நாடு, கேரளம், புதுச்சேரி, கர்நாடக மற்றும் ஆந்திர மாநிலங்களை உள்ளடக்கிய பண்டைத் தமிழகத்தின் சமகால வாழ்வுமுறையையும், கலாச்சாரத்தையும், பன்முகத்தன்மை வாய்ந்த திராவிட சமூகத்தையும் புகைப்பட பதிவுகளாக பாதுகாக்கும் ஒரு பொதுமை புகைப்படக்கலை திட்டமே ப்ராஜெக்ட் 365.

EtP പ്രൊജക്റ്റ് 365
അതിവേഗം മാറ്റങ്ങൾക്ക് വിധേയമായിക്കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ആധുനിക കേരളം, തമിഴ് നാട്, കർണാടകം, പുതുച്ചേരി, ആന്ധ്രയുടെ ചില ഭാഗങ്ങൾ എന്നിവ ഉൾപെടുന്ന സംഘകാല തമിഴകം പ്രദേശത്തിലെ സമകാലിക ജീവിതരീതികളും നിലനില്കുന്ന സംസ്കാരവും വൈവിധ്യമുള്ള ദ്രാവിഡവേരുകളുള്ള സമൂഹവും കേന്ദ്രീകരിച്ച്‌ ഫോട്ടോ ദൃശ്യഭിംഭങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്ന ഒരു പൊതു സാംസ്‌കാരിക കൂട്ടായ്മയാണ് പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌ 365.

For more information contact EtP at project365@etpindia.org / http://www.etpindia.org

Collectively creating and preserving photographic visuals of the fast vanishing landscape, divergent customs, pluralistic culture and diversified lifestyle of an ancient Tamil town.