Images of India

In conjunction with my recent post on Afro-pessimism, I’ve been thinking about Images I see of other places that attempt to show it to outsiders.

By looking critically at my own Commonwealth, do I get some license to look similarly at others’? That’s my own question for me ruminate on.

But I’ve been thinking more earnestly about images of India. दीप्ती and I discussed it while waiting for the Cookie Lady to show up on Friday. Westerners show India as shining but dysfunctional, full of promise and inequality — this is the West’s dominance myth as it confronts globalization — or as the colorful, romantic spicelands of Bollywood. And of course, there are art photographers, such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mary Ellen Mark, and other from the Born Into Brothels set. But how do Indians show India?

Matthew, Bill, and I discussed it for about a minute at Gillian’s birthday party in the South End yesterday. Bill mentioned photographers who traveled with Gandhi but no names. Earlier in the day I found about a half-dozen names and a few dozen websites, but nothing to report yet. If you know anyone you think I should look at, let me know.

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