Photo Studio

Doi: https://doi.org/10.47659/m5.072.pro

Ketaki Sheth has been a photographer for 30 years. She has published four books including Photo Studio (Photoink, New Delhi, 2018), her first in colour. Her work has been exhibited both in India and overseas. She has had solo shows at The National Portrait Gallery, London (2015), The National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2013), Higashikawa Museum (Hokkaido, 2006) & The Emile Zola Galerie (Aix en provence, 2008) amongst others. Her other publications include, Twinspotting: Photographs of Patel Twins in Britain & India (Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK 1999), Bombay Mix (Dewi Lewis UK and Sepia NY, 2007) and A Certain Grace: The Sidi, Africans of India (Photoink, Delhi, 2013). Her works reside in major museums including Fogg Museum / Harvard, Higashikawa Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum in NY. She is represented by PHOTOINK. She lives in Mumbai.

Ketaki Sheth has been a photographer for 30 years. She has published four books including Photo Studio (Photoink, New Delhi, 2018), her first in colour. Her work has been exhibited both in India and overseas. She has had solo shows at The National Portrait Gallery, London (2015), The National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi (2013), Higashikawa Museum (Hokkaido, 2006) & The Emile Zola Galerie (Aix en provence, 2008) amongst others. Her other publications include, Twinspotting: Photographs of Patel Twins in Britain & India (Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK 1999), Bombay Mix (Dewi Lewis UK and Sepia NY, 2007) and A Certain Grace: The Sidi, Africans of India (Photoink, Delhi, 2013). Her works reside in major museums including Fogg Museum / Harvard, Higashikawa Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum in NY. She is represented by PHOTOINK. She lives in Mumbai.

Between 2015-2018, Sheth travelled across India and visited over 65 photo studios, most of which were in a shabby state of decline. Photo studios in India have been explored by many photographers and written about extensively. Sheth’s approach to the photo studios is anything but conventional as she often ignored the strict conventions of making formal, mannered portraits of people with inscrutable expressions. Instead she used ageing studio lights when available, one handheld camera and lens to exhume tales of past glory and draw one’s attention to objects and a cast of characters that surrender gracefully to her gaze.

Photo Studio is as much a story about photography in the age of selfies as it is about contemporary life and attachments. Over the years, Sheth has shown remarkable facility as she shifts seamlessly between two distinct ways of making photographs – the posed portrait and street photography.

Prince Studio, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Prince Studio, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Victory Studio, Secunderabad, Telangana, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Victory Studio, Secunderabad, Telangana, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Sagar Digital Studio, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Sagar Digital Studio, Jaipur, Rajasthan, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Thara Studio, Ramanathukara, Kerala, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Thara Studio, Ramanathukara, Kerala, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Phototech Studio, Calicut, Kerala, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.
Phototech Studio, Calicut, Kerala, 2016. Photograph courtesy Ketaki Sheth/PHOTOINK.

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Photo Studio is as much a story about photography in the age of selfies as it is about contemporary life and attachments.
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