Grant Period: Over one year and six months
Ms. Sabeena Gadihoke, founder member of Mediastorm, a women’s media organization, and a lecturer in video and television in the Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia. She proposes to map out a feminist history of women photographers in the country - ranging from pioneering photojournalists to art and fashion photographers. Her objective is to give this important and undocumented point of view a critical ground in current discussion.
Apart from documenting women photographers who have marked their presence in the profession, Gadihoke expects the study to uncover the reasons behind their earlier invisibility. She also expects the research to advance earlier thinking on larger issues pertaining to technology and use, and career choices in the media for women on their own terms. Gadihoke will focus on portfolios of specific photographers to see how they have been able to grapple with issues of form and representation.
In the reading of the newly emerging group of women fashion photographers, the larger questions raised are: Does the presence of women in the fashion industry alter certain relationships of viewing through the lens? How do these women view their relationship with their subjects? Does the presence of a woman photojournalist make a difference in the sphere of news reporting? Why do so many women prefer to work on photo-features documenting the "inner worlds" of people?
Latest developments in technology may have made the profession more accessible to women, but they have also gone hand in hand with devaluation of the image of women. The victimization or exclusion of women, however, is not the main concern of the study. Much of the research will feed into an ongoing dissertation on women and technology at MCRC. In the long term, the research may also lead to a three-part film on women photographers. Photographs and other material procured with the grant will be housed at both Mediastorm and MCRC.
Gadihoke’s more enduring goal, however, is the applicability of the research to her profession as a teacher in the media, developing curriculum, and attempting to strengthen and shape thinking on a subject dear to her heart.