On a recent trip to Rajasthan in India I became fascinated with the photography studios in the small towns that I visited. What interested me was how an intimate family group enters the more public space of the studio and how they pose for a portrait with props in front of exotic painted backdrops that create dreamlike places. I wanted to document these studios that are slowly disappearing.
In each different town I would search for photography studios, pose for my portrait in the studio setting then ask the photographer to allow me to photograph him. In Jaisalmer I found an historic studio Suresh Photo Studio run by Suresh Kumar Joshi and his son Manoi Joshi that had been founded in the early 1900’s by Suresh’s father Shivshanker. They still had some of the photographs he made.
I have also been making composites from photographs that explore ways of merging time and place, the old and the new, bringing together the everyday activities and the ancient historical places. In my journey to India I experienced being in the middle of the past and present colliding, in an extraordinary and quite magical way.