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FOCUS Photography Festival
This exhibition explores the interplay between the ‘Photographer’ and the ‘Artist’. Both titles would often feature on the signs of photography studios in Indian villages, when photographs, particularly portraits, where traditionally improved upon through an artistic process and the use of paint over the photographic image. This exhibition displays vintage painted photographs from Rajasthan.
‘Photographer and Artist’, intrigued me for a long time. If the term ‘Photographer’ doesn’t give rise to much ambiguity, ‘Artist’ reminds us that until recent times, photos were improved upon, touched up around the eyes, face and sometimes even hands.
Imperfections due to nature or the lens were erased, the shape of an eye refined to resemble as closely as possible the Indian canons of feminine beauty, a pupil darkened to add intensity to the gaze, nails and hands were suddenly manicured. Afterwards, the photos were coloured, transformed in more or less flamboyant ways, ending up as hybrid artefacts somewhere between paintings and photographs. This part of the work, done with a paintbrush and paints, was usually executed by somebody who wasn’t the photographer: it was he, the famous artist. His expertise as a meticulous painter had undoubtably been acquired from painting miniatures.
These thousands of studios were small jewels, or rather jewellery boxes, for the photos which the photographer chose to exhibit at the time of his installation, with a decorative but also commercial purpose: displaying his different skills plus offering the possibility for customers to indicate the style they wanted for their own portrait.
– Gurus Gallery, Paris, France
Preview: Thursday, March 12, 7pm – 9.30pm
Until Thursday, March 26
46 Dr. V. B. Gandhi Marg, Rhythm House Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort
www.focusfestivalmumbai.com // firstname.lastname@example.org
Open daily, 10am – 7pm (later during special events)
Directions: Opposite the synagogue, near Rhythm House