An Interpretive Auto/Biographical Reading of Studio-Posed Photographs: Telling my Mother's Life in Colonial and Post-colonial India

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

In this essay, I "tell" my mother's life through photographs of her, specifically those taken in studios, but as more than a chronological life story. I intend to rediscover the person that she was, or was not, but chose to present. A deeply personal as well as feminist sensibility inspires this essay, to give voice and substance to a long silence. As colonial India approached independence, Ma successfully availed of opportunities for women to study medicine… I draw from historical research on photography and on British initiatives to train Indian women in medicine, as well as other "texts," to offer context and dimension to my reading of the photographs. I conclude with other possible narratives (cultural, religious, and philosophical) that contribute to my endeavors, a half century after her death.