Link to the Book

Photography's prominence in the representation and experience of India in contemporary and historical times has not guaranteed it a position of sustained attention in research and scholarship. For a technology as all pervasive as photography, and a country as colossal as India, this scenario is somewhat of an anomaly. 

Photography in India explores elements of the past, present and future of photography in the context of India through speculation and reflection on photography as an artistic, documentary and everyday practice. The perspectives of writers, theorists, curators and artists are selectively brought to bear upon known as well as previously unseen photographic archives, together with changes in photographic practice that have been synchronous with contemporary India's rapid urban and rural transformation and the technological shift from chemistry and light to programming and algorithms. 

Essential reading for anyone interested in Indian photography, this book binds insights into a history of photography with its contemporary development, consolidating wide-ranging thinking on the topic and setting the agenda for future research.

Table of contents

Anna Fox, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, UK 

1. Introduction
Aileen Blaney, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, India

I Photographic Time and Memory 

1. In the Theatre of Memory: The Work of Contemporary Art in the Photographic Archive
Raqs Media Collective

2. Lady Harriot Dufferin's Indian Album: 'My First Efforts in Photography, 1886' 
Denise A. Wilson

3. Itinerant Photography: Medium and Translation in the work of Imran Channa
Zahid Chaudhary

4. Images of Deaths and Marriages: Syrian Christian Family Albums and Oral Histories in Kerala
Pooja Sagar

5. All 'Dressed Up': Costume, Fashion and Identity in the Photographs of Homai Vyarawalla
Sabeena Gadihoke

6. Putting Women in the Picture: The Role of Photography in Mobilizing Support for the Indian Emergency (1975-77)
Gemma Scott

7. Copying and De-synchronizing: Performing the Past in Contemporary Indian Photography.
Christopher Pinney

II Photographies in Contemporary India

8. Photography at the Edge of Representation?: Rethinking Photographs of Rural India 
Kathleen L. Wyma

9. Interrogating 'Credible Chhattisgarh': Photography and the Construction of a New Indian State
Avrati Bhatnagar

10. Silenced Ruptures, Images from 2002 Gujarat Riots
Chinar Shah

11. Satellite Images in India: Remotely Sensed and Ambiguously Accessed 
Muthatha Ramanathan

12. The Self Is as the Selfie Does: Three Propositions for the Selfie in the Digital Turn 
Nishant Shah

13. The Unfolding of the Networked Image: An Oscillation between a Simple Visibility and an Invisible Complexity 
Fabien Charuau

14. Post-Photography and Missing Images 
Joan Fontcuberta, Translation by Ana Mahé

Fred Richin


“The strength lies in the inclusion of research on areas of photography that have not been previously written about and chapters on a diverse range of photographic practice ... from images of women during the emergency in India to ones on romantic images in social media, commercial photographic practices, as well as on visualizations of rurality and urbanity.” –  Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University, UK,

Link to the writing 

Unrelenting delivery of image feeds via Web and mobile technologies prompt consideration of whether any element of the social or physical world has gone unphotographed. In the case of a country as firmly entrenched in a global imaginary as India, the question arises as to whether the production of yet more images adds anything new to the so many “Indias” already in circulation. Is there a territory of the as yet unseen that photography can bring into visibility? The changing politics and day-to-day realities defining and affecting contemporary India provide a strong impetus for photographic imagery that reaches beyond the conventions of realism which have so strongly informed documentary photography and photojournalistic representations of the subcontinent, and which continues to get recycled via search engines, the media and stock photography industry. This article focuses on work coming out of India that is arguably far less aligned with the “instrumental realism” that has long been used in photography to signify “India” or Indianness. Analysis attends to how relatively new modes of photographic rhetoric in the selected works engage with lives and issues that are less often seen in images of India.

Using Format