This 4-day workshop will explore practical and conceptual approaches to critical commentary on photography. Its scope will be global, but its particular focus will be on South Asia. The workshop will introduce participants to the broad history of photography while conveying a detailed narrative of photography’s development within South Asia.

The workshop will aim to develop a critical understanding about the different approaches to writing about photography and help participants advance their own techniques and find their own voices through practical assignments.

The workshop will explore the global history of photography to establish what critics and writers need to know about the changing nature of the photographic apparatus. It will pay particular attention to early techniques, the development of smaller and faster apparatuses, and the advent of the digital. The workship will consider whether circulation has displaced the image as such along with a range of theoretical approaches to photography that are important to writers: what might be our position on photography’s “indexicality”, on the way in which images are determined by their contexts, and our view of recent claims that photography offers a “citizenship” in advance of conventional political rights?

The workshop will address in some detail the history of photography in South Asia, tracing its development from the first daguerreotypes in Calcutta in 1840 through to Rashid Rana’s pixelated images, and digital platforms such as the Indian Memory Project and the Nepal Picture Library. We will ask how this “regional” history can be inserted into the mainstream of a global narrative, rather than simply added as a footnote.

The workshop will involve a collective discussion of texts that participants will have been working on throughout the workshop. This will be a constructive collective “crit” in which we will all learn from one another’s individual approaches and perspectives.


Christopher Pinney is an anthropologist and art historian. He is currently Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College, London. He has held visiting positions at the Australian National University, University of Chicago, University of Cape Town, Northwestern University, Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), and Jagiellonian University (Krakow). His research interests cover the art and visual culture of South Asia, with a particular focus on the history of photography and chromolithography in India. He has also worked on industrial labor and Dalit goddess possession. He gave the Panizzi Lectures at the British Library in 2006, the Ramakrisha Nataraja Lecture in 2010 (Hyderabad), the Gerbrands Memorial Lecture (Leiden) in 2014 and the M.N. Srinivas Memorial Lecture (London) in 2015. Amongst his publications are Camera Indica (1997), Photos of the Gods (2004), The Coming of Photography in India (2008) and (together with the photographer Suresh Punjabi) Artisan Camera: Studio Photography from Central India (2013)


This workshop is designed for writers, researchers and historians from across South Asia who are interested in writing about photography and learning its history.

Date: 2-5 November 2015
Venue: Sundhara House
Time: 9 am-2 pm
Language: English
No. of Participants: 12 max


Application form (please rename the file as your full name)
⦁ Updated CV
⦁ Please email the above mentioned to Subject of your email should be the title of the workshop.

WORKSHOP FEE: Rs. 4,000 + VAT (Inclusive of all workshop material and refreshments)

DEADLINE: 18 October 2015