Rudolf Arnheim in one of his papers on the Nature of Photography mentions The Balcony, a play by Jean Genet.
I have browsed it quickly and it is amazing how in a couple of lines of a play mostly centred on the appropriation of revolutions, we may find the answer to some recurrent questions in photography.
After a staged photographic session of bishops, generals and judges (what a mix!) the Queen is informed:
THE ENVOY : It's a true image, born of a false spectacle.
FIRST PHOTOGRAPHER (cynically) : That's common practice, your Majesty. When some rebels were captured, we paid a militiaman to bump off a chap I'd just sent to buy me a packet of cigarettes. The photo shows a rebel shot down while trying to escape.
THE QUEEN: Monstrous!
THE ENVOY : But have things ever happened otherwise? History was lived so that a glorious page might be written, and then read. It's reading that counts.
In Udai's images it is the reading that counts. And something more, he is always capable to suspend reality (my dear obsession).
Somehow for us photographers the whole life is lived so that a glorious photograph might be taken, and then viewed, read. What is wrong with us people?
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Udai's was also among the 5 SCP's best photographers in 2014. The comments on India's contemporary photography found here are still pertinent.
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