Lens-based Practice in India: A Fresh Historical Perspective
Sohail Akbar
ANOTHER LENS: PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE EMERGENCE OF IMAGE CULTURE by Edited by Rahaab Allana Tulika Books, ‘India Since the Nineties’ Series, 2024, 436 pp., INR 1500.00
July 2024, volume 48, No 7

The volume under review edited by Rahaab Allana contains essays that look at the wider image culture of the 20th and early 21st century from the lens of the 1990s, a period that saw major shifts both in technology as well as the socio-economic life of India. The opening up to the global market, the entry of foreign capital along with the beginning of the telecommunication/digital revolution impacted the way images were made, circulated, and affected the people. New lens-based practices started taking birth and there was a turn towards hybridization of the image.

The 1990s saw a communications revolution with the coming up of pagers, CD-Roms and dial up internet connections. Shift from analogue to digital was just beginning. This period also marks the end of state sponsorship of photo exhibitions that capture a press-oriented view of the state and brings in a turn towards conceptual and self-articulated point in photography. Showcasing political dissent, gender issues, sexuality, environmental activism start becoming issues that photographers are willing to dabble with as the century takes a turn.

After a lengthy introduction by the Editor that sketches the visual media landscape, the volume gets divided in six sections each with its broad-based themes.

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