The representation of reality through a photographic medium is considered an important form of Fine Art; where reality in its outward manifestation is presented in the form of a stilled moment. From this outward manifestation of a stilled moment we can delve gradually into the inward dynamics of apparent reality. From the days of its beginning in the middle of the 19th century, photography helped to reflect apparent reality and was applied to infinite purpose. But the most poignant use of photography is to capture fleeting moments; of the human spirit in all its contrasting colors and the emotional relationship of the nature around it. But photographs are not free from underlying ideas or ideologies of cultural milieu. Take for example the photographs of mist-enveloped mountains or peasants working in the windy fields by famed Norwegian photographer Knund Knudsen, in the closing decades of 19th century, which show the influence of German Romanticism in fine art and his nostalgic urge to capture images of vanishing Norwegian rural life to which he himself belonged in childhood. There are many more examples like this where we can discern that a photographer works not merely as a mechanical reflector of light and form but as a true artist who tries to express his or her distinct perspective, in the infinite dimensions of an apparent reality, which appears concretely real but is inherently fragile under the weight of the inevitable flow of time.

In this section, which displays photographs of Indian people and places, we have included photographs taken by Abbey Celeste Box who was living in India with her native Indian husband from 2012-13. Abbey confesses that initially she was both afraid and attracted toward the sheer magnitude of India; a country with an immense enigmatic depth and vast cultural and physical expanse. Famed enormity of one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, with its unique everyday Indian anarchy both attracts and repels anyone outside India. During her stay she participated in the whole of Indian life from religious rituals and ceremonies, including her own Hindu wedding, to total immersion in the day-to-day activities of living within an Indian community. This personally helped her to understand the inner core of Indian life, in its religion and spirituality. Abbey’s photographs touch the common faces of India’s people; day laborers and their children, silent glances of young Indian girls, saluting and giggling Muslim boys, enterprising eunuchs, the dying patriarch in his dusty workshop, abstractionist print artists at work in their studios, visitors to Humayun’s tomb, sleepy dogs and omnipotent gods steeped in their deistic eternal indifference. She has also captured moments inside mosques and temples, of Hindu priests, Muslim clerics and their faithful worshippers. In the images she has taken from inside of one of the world’s largest mosques Tajul Masjid in Bhopal, one can experience the visual journey of a medieval-age Muslim education system, alive and well in the modern period. Similarly her photographs of the wine-drinking Hindu god Kal Bhairav in the ancient city of Ujjain, show how simple devotion exists side-by-side the occult Tantra. In all the photographs which Abbey has taken, in different Indian cities where she stayed briefly or at length, she has captured honest moments in their spirit of pure Indianness...true vibrancy amidst the dust.

Photographic Artists

Abbey Box