Untitled photo essay by Shephalika Mishra

22 08 2008



4 responses

22 08 2008


I have various kinds of questions to ask you about these pictures but I am most interested in finding out why you chosen to show these children at work. What (if you could like to articulate it) is your intention and what were you trying to say through these photos? What do you think is the relationship between you and your camera, and these kids?

There’s a quote by Amitava Kumar which I think might provide some food for thought:

“Photographs are so often assumed to be unambiguous in their meaning, hence transparent. Because of their assumed transparency, photos should be accompanied by untiring contextualization…the point is to confront the reader with the context that foregrounds the process of making meaning.”

–Amitava Kumar, Passport Photos (Penguin, 2000)

You might not want to do what Kumar suggests but answer me this: Is there a reason why your pictures do not have captions? What do you think should be the relationship between an image and a caption? Does it need one?

And do photographers always need to provide a context for their images through the use of captions?

Hope we can continue the conversation in this space.


23 08 2008
shephalika mishra

Indeed you have generated a thought-provoking discussion.
Well these are the photographs that I took for the purpose of one of the assignments where I have tried tio picture the kids who unfortunately are ‘not so fortunate’.
As for not giving a caption I do not feel that the photos necessarily always be “accompanied by untiring contextualization” , the reason being that it tends to delimit the scope of interpretation. And I wanted the photos to speak for themselves rather than the captions (that I might have provided).
Infact I would love to know from you as well as others that do the photographs speak to you? What do you think or feel when you look at them?

26 08 2008
Rajesh Ranjan

Without going into the art or politics of representation, i would say that these photographs are nice….and i liked all, especially the last two photos.

[Sometimes photographs or for that matter anything may seem to be saying something, but it is naive to assume the content because the ‘say’ being unilateral carries no meaning unless put in black and white..We always like to hear what we want. Let photos converse with whoever they want…be it caption, reader, uploader, moderator or even other photos in the series.]

31 08 2008

For me, image 8 works best as it foregrounds neither poverty nor exploitation but sheer glee. Of course, we can also read self-assuredness, self-consciousness and delight into this picture. I just enjoy the way these kids return the gaze of the camera. This allows the picture to highlight their subjecthood and not an assumed disempowerment.

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