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Updated: January 5, 2011 18:59 IST

Picture perfect

FAISAL M. NAIM
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A still from the book. Photo: Special Arrangement
The Hindu
A still from the book. Photo: Special Arrangement

“India: 150 Years in Photographs” is a visual delight

India is Picturesque. Every aspect of the country can be framed: the places, people, culture, even the history. Essayist and literary critic S. Prasannarajan has tried to present a visual account of the country's panoramic voyage through the sands of time with his book “India: 150 Years in Photographs”.

Launched at the India International Centre recently, the book is a collection of photographs showcasing India during the last 150 years. Speaking about the book, Aroon Purie, editor-in-chief, India Today group, said, “The book is an attempt to portray India in its true nature, photogenic. The book vividly presents seven slices of Indian history in its folds.”

Using photographs resourced from Getty images, the book (published by Roli Books) encompasses important events and turns in the history of India since 1857; from the downfall of the Moghul Empire to the Freedom Movement to the dynamic nation that India is today.

“India is a unique place. The history of this land has had many facets. The book is all about the experience of India and Indian, not to read, but to see. It is a candid visual journey through India from 1857 to 2010,” said Prasannarajan. The author said compiling the book proved to be quite a cumbersome task. “We had to search from amongst the 70 million images recounting 150 years of photography done by Getty Images. It had not to be just any photo relating to India. Relevance to the context was a must. It took years of hard-work analysing each and every photo in detail,” said the author, who shuttles between Delhi and London.

Talking about the concept of the book, Prasannarajan said, “A photo speaks volumes in itself. It is an honest narration of events, never betrays the truth. It would take tonnes of volumes in paper to describe the moments captured in this book.”

He said it took minimalist efforts to interpret and understand an image. The author said going through pictures was a more binding experience and that the message conveyed by a photo marked a lasting imprint on the mind of a person and he/she tends to remember it for a long time in the exact, unabridged form. “Visual memories last longer and are eidetic.” Indeed!

Keywords: photography

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