Contemporary Photo Archive
This year, we have started archiving the life and works of contemporary photographers. Presently, the interest and focus of mainstream archives and museums is towards conserving pre-independence photographs of India. However, there is a strong need to conserve contemporary photographs, especially the works of the third generation, avant-garde photographers who spearheaded the shift from analogue to digital photography. Unlike digital photography, conserving the traditional photographic negatives and prints poses more challenges. The climatic conditions of the locale influence the resources and skills required to establish a fully functional photo archive. This project has begun with contemporary Indian photographer Abul Kalam Azad, who has provided exclusive rights to the Trust to archive and preserve his works. Abul Kalam Azad photo archive comprises of negatives, documents, digital images and prints taken since 1970. Abul’s oeuvre is diverse and includes several experimental works and single edition prints. His photographic works are predominantly autobiographical, exploring the areas of politics, culture, gender and eroticism and attempt a re-reading of the accepted history in which ordinary people are usually absent. We have classified Abul’s works into two categories – 1970 to 1990 and 1990 to 2016. Much of his early works were monochrome analog photographs. By the mid-80s, Abul started experimenting with the photography medium, using techniques such as double exposure and mixed media approaches. In the late 90s, he began making digital images, and often combined both the analog and digital media. Presently he creates analog, digital and mixed media works.