“The fragrance of jasmine” 2002

I visited some of the archaic local photo studios in Mysore. I collected nearly 350 photographs of a specific tradition wherein women wear jasmine braids on very special occasions in their life (i.e.,during childhood, when she reaches puberty, is getting married, while being pregnant and so on). It is a great tradition of domestic photography in the southern part of India. The women decorate their hairs with designed jasmine braids.

A mirror–placed behind the woman being photographed, captures her decorated jasmine braid. It resembles the backbone structure. These photographs not only indicate the beginning of studio-photography but also act as specific ‘mirrors of desires’. I have attempted to bring in a strange relation between the viewer and the women ‘in’ the photographs. The viewers watches all these women staring back at them, along with the distracted images of the onlooker visible in the mirrors.

(This particular set of photographs was shot by three generation of male photographers (“Raj Brothers’: grand father, father and the sons). Hence the photographs depict women belonging to three generations, since 1960’s till date.)