Artisan Camera is a testimony to an era of hands-on studio photography, when physical materials combined with the photographer’s artistry to shape the final image. This book features work from Studio Suhag in Nagda, a small town in central India. Suresh Punjabi – the studio’s proprietor and photographer – showcases some of his vintage photographs from the 1970s and 1980s. They evoke a world where the studio portrait was an important memento, capturing not just the ‘real’ subject, but also a persona made over to meet the camera’s eye. The images, by Suresh Punjabi, are a testament to an era of hands-on studio photography when physical materials combined with the photographer’s ingenuity to stage and record astonishing and poignant human dramas. They present a space in which the camera captured not only “real” subjects, but also personae made over to meet the camera’s eye. Here are laborers and bohemians, villagers and townspeople, the devout and the cosmopolitan. All are depicted with the aid of a relatively fixed repertoire of backdrops, lights, and accessories. A richly argued essay by visual anthropologist Christopher Pinney – author of Camera Indica – places Punjabi’s work in the context of a fascinating visual history.
Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Tara Books (September 1, 2014)
About the Author
Christopher Pinney is an anthropologist and art historian. He is currently Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London. His book Camera Indica traces photography’s various purposes and goals in India from colonial through postcolonial times and was published in 1997. Suresh Punjabi is the proprietor and photographer of Studio Suhag in Nagda, a small town in central India, almost exactly half-way between Delhi and Mumbai. The studio was founded by Suresh together with his brother Mahesh in the late 1970s