Exhibition MY ANALOGUE WORLD
by Sooni Taraporevala
Process and technology determine not just the final output, but also impact the approach of the artist towards his/her work. In a sense this exhibition explores the idea of memory by focusing on the nearly extinct analogue process of photo production. Analogue photography needs a certain mind-set towards taking pictures because of its non-instantaneous nature, and the multiple stages of production involved.
The show consists of never seen before, silver gelatin prints, produced and printed between 1978 and 2004 by Taraporevala herself. Taken during her various travels in India, Japan, France, Spain, USA, they capture, the mundane and the exceptional with sensitivity and a keen eye for human emotions and conditions, and provide a glimpse into various social and community settings, from farm workers and shepherds in rural France to train passengers in Tokyo, and different aspects of life in Bombay.
Sooni Taraporevala, is an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker and photographer. She has participated in numerous international group shows like Tate Modern’s 2001 exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis, Lille 3000 in Lille 2006, India Moderna IVAM Institut Valencia d’Art Modern 2008, Photoquai, Musee de Quai Branly, 2009, and has also had solo exhibitions at Harvard University’s Sert Gallery in Cambridge USA, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai and at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. Her work is part of the permanent collection of NGMA, Delhi and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA. In 2014, she received the Padma Shri from the Government of India.
I’ve been photographing in black and white since 1976 when I was a student in America and bought my first “real” camera – a Nikkormat, with money borrowed from my roommate Cathy Dement.
The photographs in this show are prints I once made, that have survived in cupboards and under my bed. The large photographs are reproductions of my prints, using today’s digital technology.
Except for my work on film sets, the black and white photos in the show were not made for any project or with any agenda in mind other than the joy of shooting.
The slideshow in colour, is part of my PARSIS project and many of them have been shown previously as prints, but never in their original form as projected transparencies.
I wanted to simulate a darkroom as my happiest hours were spent staying up all night printing in a neighbour’s spare bedroom, with wooden boards covering the windows keeping out all light, as well as air, deep breathing the fumes of chemicals while bopping to music and finally at dawn carrying the prints upstairs to my home where I’d wash them in the bathroom and hang them up to dry with clothespins.
The enlarger displayed is not mine. Mitter Bedi, the last hold-out of the analogue world, loaned it to us for the show. They stopped processing film last year.
I turned to digital in 2004 and never looked back to film, nostalgically or otherwise. It is only now, 13 years later that I find myself remembering and missing the days of stinky chemicals, and long dark nights.
Palm Sunday in the Ironbound, © 1981 Sooni Taraporevala
Newark Train Station, © 1981 Sooni Taraporevala
Farm hands, The Pyrenees, France 1979 - Photograph © 1979 Sooni Taraporevala
Tokyo crossing, 1988 - Photograph © 1988 Sooni Taraporevala
Tokyo subway, 1988 - Photograph © 1988 Sooni Taraporevala
Roshan Seth plays with Mickey on the set of Such A Long Journey, Bombay 1999 - Photograph © 1999 Sooni Taraporevala
The Masked Boy, © 1979 Sooni Taraporevala