Folkwang Photo Talk with Suryanandini Narain


This summer term, our Folkwang Photo Talks series continues with Suryanandini Narain’s presentation »A Feminine Archive: Making, Viewing and Inhabiting Women’s Photobooks in South Asia«. Suryanandini Narain is an Assistant Professor in Visual Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

The talk will take place on April 27, 2023, at 6 pm CET (12 pm EST, 5 pm GMT, 10:30 pm IST) and online. Please send an email for the Zoom link!

This talk examines women as subjects, makers, and viewers of photobooks in the South Asian context. The feminine subject of photography has been widely discussed in writing, but the female photographer, photobook maker, and viewer find lesser mention. The talk spans different kinds of photobooks that foreground female agency, from published photobooks to singular family albums, the latter of which I regard as formal precursors. I will look at the regular middle-class housewife as an album maker, as well as the professional photographer for the photobooks she produces, and the rich discourse that a range of such works can generate today. Intergenerational differences in narrative, historicization across archives and textualization of meaning across different media will also be discussed. In a larger sense, the talk attempts to retrieve South Asian visual micro-histories through women’s photobooks that reflect on their personal and social identities. Through photobooks, how do women negotiate their own positions and perspectives within larger narratives of family, community, and nation?