Dec 20, 1999
Dayanita Singh, 38
She could be called the post-colonialist. From the
photographic territory mapped by the exotic-disaster images of India, Dayanita Singh has
moved to looking within. She also took her camera there, so we too get a glimpse of the
India we usually inhabit but rarely see, the India in our living rooms and courtyards.
"Try and look at your own family as a documentary subject, you'll be amazed at what
you see," she advises. Singh has been photographing the upper-middle class Indian
families and the post- liberalisation lifestyle since the late '80s. Today when we look
beyond the distinctly culture-heavy Raghu Rai and Raghubir Singh menu for a new, modern
image of India, the graphics graduate from nid is hot and sought after by leading
magazines and art galleries of the world.
But then the millennium will also be Singh's sieve,
as contemporary becomes past, work of a gone century. Does she have it in her to evolve?
Those who have seen her more recent works say yes. "It is her deep sensitive
relationship with her subjects that is her distinct language," remarks Graciela
Iturbide, the famous Mexican photographer who has seen Dayanita's current projects:
documenting urban families and the girls at the Kanyapeeth of Aanandmayi Ma at Varanasi. A