Photography as an Art in India

‘Desires Wrought upon the Surface of an Image’: Photography as an Art in India | ShahidulNews

B. Syed, Dabhol
Young Girl tinting a photograph
hand tintedgelatin silver print
mid 20th century, 223 x 280 mm.
Courtesy The Alkazi Collection of Photography.

The concept of ‘Art Photography’ presents a conceptual and ideological dilemma that has persisted from photography’s invention in 1839 and the pioneering work of Fox Henry Talbot, The Pencil of Nature (1844-6). The early period was one of lively experiments, but in its growing stages there was a significant lacuna between amateurs and professionals. The ‘Art’ of photography may refer to pictorial conventions adapted by photographers, or indeed how photography as an art form is now on par with the lure (both aesthetic and economic) of painting.

Arrival in India

Photography first arrived in India in the ports around 1840, followed by the establishment of societies in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. It became a means of bridging the fields of patronage and industry, and of displaying the vast cultural tapestry of the people. With rising commerce and trade, the need for sophisticated studios steadily increased. People from all walks of life saw themselves magically imprinted on paper, and with time, photography was no longer treated as an isolated form of documentation or surveillance ………………….

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About Farah Mahbub

Farah Mahbub was born and brought up in Karachi. She attained her bachelor’s degree in fine art, literature and psychology. Being primarily self-taught, she has been working as a professional photographer since 1988. Her photographic journey has taken its course through exploration of various genres, ranging from fine art, commercial, architectural and landscape photography. However for her, personal self-expression is best conveyed through fine art photography, which she continues to explore and dedicate her abilities to. Working formerly in analogue, her present work now is primarily in the digital format. As a practicing artist, Farah’s work has been exhibited in both local and international exhibitions including the 11th Asian Art Biennale in Bangladesh and the Mohatta Palace Museum in Pakistan. Her work has also been published in multiple books most notably Journeys of the Spirit: Pakistan Art in the New Millenium. Farah joined the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in 1997 as a faculty member, where she has been ever since. Under her tenure, photography has evolved from a single class into an undergraduate minor spanning the Communication Design and Fine Art and Interior Design departments. Farah recently had her fifth solo show "Baraka Silsila-e-Nisbat" with an accompanying monograph. View all posts by Farah Mahbub

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