Tushar Joshi & K Balamurugan

Extending Arts Practice

Grant Period: Over four months

Tushar Joshi is a visual artist who has worked mainly as a photographer and cinematographer for various projects. An MFA in photography from the University of Creative Arts, Franham, UK, his short film Retirement was selected for the Festival de’ Cannes - Short Film Corner, in 2008. He received the People’s Choice Award in Discovery-Nokia Mobile Filmmaking, Singapore, in 2006, and his work has been exhibited in various galleries across the country. K Balamurugan is also a visual artist working in the field of photography and filmmaking. He studied BSc Visual Communication from SRM University, Chennai, and has worked in various Tamil films. He made a photo documentary on the insurgency in Kashmir in 2011, and is currently working on a documentary on the red light districts of India. He is invested in exploring Wet Plate Collodion photography through research and practice. Both the artists attended the residency supported by IFA at the Centre for Alternative Photography, Goa, in 2012, with their current project being an extension of the work that began at the residency.                                       

Tushar has his roots in a village in the western Himalayas of Uttarakhand and Bala comes from a coastal village in Tamilnadu. Their project tries to understand the particular situation their villages find themselves in at a moment when the whole country is going through dynamic shifts, moving towards a “global village”. Through dry and wet plate Collodion photography, they seek to document these signs of ‘shift’ in their villages, questioning the inevitability of such cultural transformations. They have been given a grant (under EAP) for the second phase of their project, which takes place in the village of Daniya in Almora, where Tushar hails from. They will inspect three main aspects of village life to understand the changes that take place with time: myths, social structures, and lifestyles. In the first phase of their project in Sanakari, Tamilnadu, they have already photographed the local deity being displaced by the Hindu gods. They have extensively photographed the houses of the farmer community, which is now moving towards other jobs, and the house of one prominent person in the village to capture the shift in lifestyle with the advent of technology. They believe that Daniya has encountered the same religious, social, and economic forces, but the shift might be manifested very differently. They are going to explore similar myths, social orders and lifestyle changes in Daniya through dry plate Collodion photography.

Tushar and Bala are pushing the form of Collodion photography beyond its colonial legacy to go back to their roots. Their project does not exoticise the villages but documents the changes in village life without being judgemental about the process. Their choice of medium and technology becomes an important artistic statement in the process. Photographs produced through the form require simple yet cumbersome chemical processes, long exposures, and manual processing. They will work on dry plate Collodion photography to produce a few handmade copies of an album with all the original photographs, and a coffee table book of digitally scanned photos for wider circulation. They will also create detailed documentation through a manual booklet and DVD on their various experiments with the photographic process. They have already started publishing their work in photography journals. They wish to continue that, and if possible, exhibit the work in galleries after completion of the project.