2004 | India | Documentary,Feature

City of Photos

  • English, Hindi, Bengali 59 mins
  • Director | Nishtha Jain
  • Writer | Nishtha Jain, Smriti Nevatia
  • Producer | Nishtha Jain

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City of Photos explores the little known ethos of neighborhood photo studios in Indian cities, discovering entire imaginary worlds in the smallest of spaces. Tiny, shabby studios that appear to be stuck in a time warp turn out to be places throbbing with energy. As full of surprises as the people who frequent these studios are the backdrops they enjoy posing against and the props they choose. These afford fascinating glimpses into individual fantasies and popular tastes. Yet beneath the fun and games runs an undercurrent of foreboding.

Not everyone enjoys being photographed; not every backdrop is beautiful; not all photos are taken on happy occasions. The cities in which these stories unfold themselves become backdrops, their gritty urban reality a counterpoint to the photo palaces. Desires, memories and stories, all so deeply linked to the photographic experience, come together as part of a personal journey into the city of photos.

studio portrait family album painted backdrops death analog memory photography pose photographer history