Photographer Dileep Prakash has travelled 1000s of miles for two years to make portraits of India’s ‘Anglo-Indians’. This term was first used in the 17th century to define mixed marriages between Indians and British or Europeans. Composed in a relaxed manner, Dileep Prakash’s images reveal a diversity of characters, from teachers to tea planters, from funeral directors to students and different generations, from children to grandparents. Lifestyle is a key element to the cultural richness of this visual documentary.
How the subjects pose themselves within their living or work environments display a sense of dignity and honesty about their identity. The settings disclose historical and religious ties, they expose the simplest means of the home environment to the most elaborate. Some home interiors are like intimate small museums of times past with historical family photographs, Christian motives and colourful Indian textiles. The pink chiffon dress of an elderly lady tells of a traditional courting dance past in contrast to the younger tight t-shirt generation of today’s club-scenes. In its entirety, this series takes the viewer on a personal journey throughout India, based on autobiographical roots.
Dileep Prakash on his work: “My interest in the Anglo-Indian community developed out of my marriage to June (nee Davy), an Anglo-Indian from Jabalpur. We’ve been married for 14 years and I have become a part of her family and extended community. We have been witness to births and funerals, christenings and baptisms, marriages, May Queen balls, Christmas, the fox trot & the jive, honky tonk music, frocks and hats, discussions on ‘home’ in England and the good old days, Sunday lunch of Ball curry and rice. …..Over the years, I have observed a certain dichotomy within the community. There are those Anglo-Indians who have married into Hindu, Muslim and other communities and have assimilated into mainstream Indian society. While several others continue to follow their traditions in relative isolation.”
Hardcover: 100 pages
First edition (2007)
About the Photographer
Dileep Prakash (b.1965) has been photographing for almost 25 years and a considerable part of Prakash’s work navigates memory and the passage of time. His fascination for steam locomotives began early when he travelled between his boarding school and home. By the mid-90s, most steam locomotives had been retired but he was able to photograph the last of the steam trains and the people who worked on them. His project on the Anglo-Indian community (2004 – 2006) led him to the far corners of India, making portraits of a community in twilight. From 2007 to 2010, Prakash photographed boarding schools built by the British in colonial India. He began this project, What Was Home, at his alma mater Mayo College and went on to photograph 18 boarding schools.