A photography exhibition at Jamia Millia Islamia brought out the value of family albums in the digital age.

A photography exhibition, “Photography As Archive: A Student Perspective”, was organised by AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (AJK MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). This exhibition was a part of the Delhi Photo Festival 2013.

Sixteen works by former and present students of Post Graduate Diploma in Still Photography and Visual Communication were displayed at this exhibition .

The exhibition was curated by two Associate Professors of AJK MCRC, Sabeena Gadihoke and Sohail Akbar.

Sabeena said, “These exhibited works by students commented on personal photography by using found photographs or images from their own families and neighbourhood studios. They used readings to explore styles, practices, histories, technologies and cultures of photography. Originally, made as a Power Point presentation these projects had been specially redesigned for this exhibition, keeping the original concepts intact.”

These displayed works said many things about the fascination towards photography in the pre-digital age of photography. Many forms of photography could be seen in these works. There were posed photographs, there was sort of intimate photographs taken by couples through the use of timer in camera and there was trick photography, etc. The photographs took us back to that age from where we could trace back our culture and cultural transformation to this high-tech age of photography. That age and the format of photography are like a cultural heritage.

Each work was described through a small write up about photographs. “Photographs are central to archives whether in libraries, museum, banks, police records family albums. This exhibition showcased a number of personal archives that help open the doors to newer and deeper understanding about the intricate interplay of photography, memory and private life. Personal archives were not just recording of the ‘external words’ but excursions into inner lives, fantasies and the imaging of the self. The key to the photographs were the narratives that surrounded them, ones that can be revealed only by the insider,” noted Sabeena.

Now, things are different. Medium is same but the format of photography has changed. High-tech digital photography has changed the way photographs are taken. Internet and social media have revolutionised the use of photographs.

Mobile memory banks

“Once upon a time, photographic traces never escaped the confines of the family album while today they travel the world through the internet. If memory is an archive we all carry with us, the implicit question that haunts our project asks: what is the relationship between memory and photographs? The answers are many and complex but we can certainly say that photographs are our own little signposts about remembering and forgetting,” observed Sohail.