For Delhi-based photographer Ram Rahman, photography in India lacks something fundamental to any discipline of art — a book of history that brings back out of oblivion the work of the most path-breaking photo-artistes in the country.
Though he has not been able to compile such a book, Rahman will make up for that gap with a three-day lecture series in the city on the history of Indian photography from the 1940s onwards.
The lectures, from November 10 to 12, have been organised by Jnanapravaha, an arts education centre based in Fort.
In March this year, Jnanapravaha had hosted a lecture series on the dawn of Indian photography in the nineteenth century.
“India has a rich tradition of photography that goes right back to the time when it was invented, but most of today’s young photographers don’t know about this history,” said Rahman, whose work has been exhibited around the world for the past 35 years.
“The work of European and American photographers has been very well documented, but for any artiste, it is necessary to study one’s own tradition.”
In the lecture series, Rahman will focus on the rare work of Sunil Janah, a political activist who chronicled India’s struggle for independence and the first decade of freedom through images of the country’s influential leaders.
“Janah was the most famous photographer and creative artiste of the 1940s and 50s, but his work was never published in entirety and is now almost completely forgotten,” said Rahman, whose lectures will also explore the influence of some seminal Indian photographers on contemporary artistes such as Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh.
(The lecture series ‘Contemporary Indian Photography – 1940s till now’ will be held at Jnanapravaha, Fort, at 5.30 pm from November 10-12. Registration fee: Rs 1,000; Rs 250 for students. Contact: 22072974)