The Newsletter 51 Summer 2009

The art of realism. Painted photographs from India

Rahaab Allana

The emergence of the painted photograph marks a crucial chapter in the history of photography. By abetting the notion of ‘modernism’ in visual practice at the turn of the 19th century, these embellished images represent a crucial embodiment of cultural encounter, a new medium that successfully addressed existent traditions of illumination in painting, and slowly emerged as a self-sustaining convention, a meld of ‘realistic’ documentation and artistic manipulation. Rahaab Allana, Curator of the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts in New Delhi, India, reveals the world of coloured portraiture in India.