Reflective Report

Reflective Report

During this module I have improved my capabilities to investigate and build upon my ideas through contextual readings, analysis and interpretation of material. This allowed me to show my understanding through my photography and writing (LO2/3). I examined the topic of Diaspora and family memories; as these were key for the progression of my chosen area of practice. Allan Sekula’s ‘Polonia and Other Fables’ made me more aware of how such a broad topic as diaspora, can be presented as a project or exhibition. Stuart Hall’s ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’ prepared me to explore the stories of Anglo Indians who are alive and well, despite the diaspora, this progressed to capturing memories for posterity and celebration. In Jayani Jeanne Bonnerjee’s thesis, ‘Neighbourhood, City, Diaspora’, she decided to “use personal memorabilia as material objects of memory to explore diasporic links” (Bonnerjee, 2010:59). I also found that personal stories from my own family, held a stronger narrative, than the information I was gaining from the Anglo Indian Association and other articles, so I focused on these. The fundamental discussions that I researched aided my critical reflection, and allowed me to contextualise, and show my understanding of my chosen specialism; this is evidenced in my development and experimentation.

(LO3)I approached the topic of Anglo Indian diaspora as a descendant of those who experienced India’s independence, not as an outsider, it is a case of ‘we’ not ‘they’. This is evidenced in my proposal, critical reflections, and critical rationale. Although this culture is my heritage, I am aware much of it has been hidden from me until now. To help me avoid the mistake of approaching the topic as an outsider I read a summary of Abigail Solomon Godeau’s ‘Inside/Out’, to gain a further understanding on how photographers approach from an inside or outside view. For this reason I was careful to avoid exploiting my Anglo Indian family members; allowing them to speak about their experiences freely on the audio, and asking them to show me objects they felt reveal our Anglo Indian cultural history.

I approached the project with a professional attitude; my dedication ensured the development and growth of the project, this is shown in the progressive stages in my sketchbook and on my blog (LO4). At the beginning of the module I produced a proposal, which shaped the development of my project plan, this helped me to keep on track during the progression of the project. Throughout my project I came up against differing issues, such as background noise during audio recording sessions; I dealt with this by thinking carefully about the environment I recorded in. I have produced portraiture and audio before, I therefore learnt from past projects, developing an extension of my existing approaches.

For this body of work I had to be self critical throughout. Through experimentation and reflection on tasks, the project developed from a general idea to a clear conceptual exhibition piece comprising of photographic prints and an audio piece. Emily Jacir’s “Material for Film” in which she assembles different media type materials inspired me. I also looked at Melanie Manchot’s “Moscow Girls”, this helped me to envisage how sound and photography could be combined. These contemporary practitioners aided the projects development. I also looked at Esther Teichmann’s work and Maria Kapajeva’s “Marry Me” to contextualise historical processes, such as tinting, used in contemporary works. Curtis Mann’s “After the Dust, Second View (Beirut)” motivated me to explore bleaching processes. My still life layouts were inspired by my research on the book “Stilled”, Sara Cwnar’s Colour Studies” and Dan Bannino’s “Still-Diets”. Whilst Researching display ideas I studied Zanele Muholi’s recent exhibitions, her use of pins and frames were considered and influenced my own exhibition piece. My research of photographers, artists and writers enabled me to create my own body of work that is contextually grounded and inspired by contemporary practitioners.

I have acknowledged the key concerns involved in producing perceptions that professionally and efficiently communicate a specific message to a particular audience (LO5). My work examines culture and history of Anglo Indian diaspora, addressing lost and fragmented memories. Through my family memories I have created an exhibition piece which will not only reach out to other Anglo Indian descendants, but also make others aware of the uniqueness of our Anglo Indian heritage.

This self determined project shows my dedication and photographic skills to the best of my abilities (LO6). My sketchbook is evidence of my extended body of work, demonstrating the development of the project from digital photographs and moving image, audio, montage and experimental layering techniques. My exhibition piece includes 6 fibre-based prints framed and displayed as a celebration of culture, a lost heritage rediscovered. The audio I have produced gives the work context, by including a history of my Anglo Indian origins together with narration and music by my Anglo Indian family members.

My project is about the fading memories of my Anglo Indian heritage. Sadly, during my project a participating relative passed away, this highlights the importance of recording these memories now. If I had not recorded her memories, they may have been lost forever. I wish to hold on to these memories and to celebrate my ancestral culture.


Bonnerjee, J. (2010) Identity And Belonging For Calcutta’s n And Chinese Communities. Ph.D

La Grange, A. (2005) Basic Critical Theory For Photographers. Oxford: Elsevier Focal Press




Andrews, R. (n.d.) Being Anglo Indan: Practices And Stories From Calcutta. Ph.D. Massey University, (2009) The Renaissance Society At The University Of Chicago Contemporary Art Museum: Allan Sekula, Polonia And Other Fables [online] available from <; [8 March 2015]

BBC News, (2013) Anglo-Indians: Is Their Culture Dying Out? – BBC News [online] available from <; [12 May 2015], (2015) BBC – Family History – WDYTYA? Series Four: Celebrity Gallery [online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

Bear, L. (2007) Lines Of The Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy And The Intimate Historical Self. New York: Columbia University Press

Bonnerjee, J. (2010) Identity And Belonging For Calcutta’S Anglo Indian And Chinese Communities. Ph.D

Boym, S. (2001) The Future Of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books

Caplan, L. (2003) Eurasians In India [online] 1st edn. available from <; [7 March 2015], (2015) Still Diets [online] available from <; [16 April 2015], (2008) Whistle Blows For Mumbai`S Last Anglo-Indian Train Driver [online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

D’Costa, A. (n.d.) Anglo Indian Nostaligia: Longing For India As Homeland. Curtin University of Technology, (2015) Esther Teichmann — Latest News [online] available from <; [1 May 2015]

Hall, S. (n.d.) Cultural Identity And Diaspora [online] 1st edn. Richard. L. W Clarke.

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Hirsch, M. (1997) Family Frames. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 217-


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Mail Online, (2009) The Post-War Love Letters And Photos Found On A Bus That Detail A High-Society Romance [online] available from <; [4 March 2015]

Mannur, A. (2007) Culinary Nostalgia: Authenticity, Nationalism And Diaspora. Melus, (2015) Marry Me | Maria Kapajeva [online] available from <; [16 May 2015], (1996) Melanie Friend → Selected Images From Homes & Gardens: Documenting The Invisible [online] available from <; [30 March 2015], (2004) Moscow Girls, 2004, Nine C-Prints « Melanie Manchot [online] available from <; [30 March 2015]

Merrill, G. (2013) Self-Described Hoarder And Still Life Photographer Uses Color To Organize Her Collection Of Treasures [online] available from <; [16 April 2015]

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Oxford Dictionary, (2015) Diaspora – Definition Of Diaspora In English From The           Oxford Dictionary [online] available from

<; [8 March


Paper Journal, (2014) Interview: Esther Teichmann [online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

PetaPixel, (2014) Joachim Schmid Is An Artist Who Finds And Publishes Other People’s Photos[online] available from <; [7 May 2015]

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Silverprint, (2015) Silverprint – Photographic Supplies – Film Photography And Alternative Processes Specialists [online] available from <; [16 May 2015], (2015) HELEN CAMMOCK BLACK AUDIO FILM COLLECTIVE ANDREA ARNOLD[online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

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The Photographers’ Gallery, (2015) Charlotte Dumas – The Photographers’ Gallery [online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

The Photographers’ Gallery, (2015) Home – The Photographers’ Gallery [online] available from <; [7 May 2015]

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<; [8 March 2015]

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YouTube, (2010) Whitney Biennial: Curtis Mann Making “After The Dust, Second View (Beirut)”[online] available from <; [16 May 2015]

Reflection: Artist Statement/critical Rationale

I came away from these tutorials  with the understanding that my artist statement needed a little reworking. It is a little didactic; I am telling my audience too much. I am telling the viewer  how to look at the work and what they should think. It is a challenge; I need to make decisions for this text and title. I realise I have to tread carefully, giving information but not giving too much information. I want to encourage the viewer to think, without spelling it out to them.  I do not want to close off the audiences engagement, the process of absorbing and thinking about my work.

I have a great draft to rework; I just need to loosen up my writing a little bit. I am contemplating using a quote from one of my relatives. It is a project about memory and history so it is important to know who has said this quote, his full name.

It is not my responsibility to tell the view of how they should be thinking or feeling. It is my responsibility to plant seeds. In my writing I need to think about how I can be subtler, indicating that it is a personal project about my family.  I can do this by using the quote. I need to think about how I can make my writing a little bit more open.

(Below you can read the FINAL Artist Statement that will appear in the catalogue and at the exhibition.)



‘One of the Few Left Now’

“I am 79, and my brother is 82; we must be one of the few left now that can talk about their experiences in India” (Malcolm Heppolette).


‘One of the Few Left Now’ explores Anglo Indian cultural memories that are becoming lost and fragmented. This work seeks to explore my own heritage; it has taken me on a journey, from hazy memories of many generations to reconnecting with a lost family past through a process of portraiture, collections of memorabilia, stories, artifacts and histories.


This work celebrates my Anglo Indian ancestry, a dissolving culture that I wish to draw attention to, through a narrative platform where culture, history and stories can be explored.

Choosing a Frame

Whilst discussing framers with Jason Tilley, he suggested a framers that he used for his exhibition ‘People Of India’ that was on display at the Herbert Art Gallery. I took Jason’s advice and visited ‘City Arts’ to discuss my framing options. I was so pleased with their professional approach that I decided to get my custom made frames produced here.

Reflection on print size:

Having experimented with different sizes of prints, I am able to reflect on how the work is communicated differently. The smaller prints are perhaps more intimate as they replicate the size of the prints in the album. However I feel it does not do the work justice, the smaller sizes don’t show the processes that the prints have undergone, such as the tinting and bleaching. I have experimented with 10×10” prints on the wall, however these were not large enough to effect the way the work was read. I want to celebrate and show that I am proud of this new discovery of my Anglo Indian past. For this reason I intend to produce a final piece that shall take over the wall. My prints shall be produced to 14×14 inches and will then be framed. I intend for each print to be around 20×20” when mounted and framed. Together this will fill a wall, using 6 prints and an audio to bring them together. I want the viewer to be able to see all the prints at the same time, allowing them to absorb the stories and visual prints, making connections between them. The large display shows my pride and is a celebration of culture, history and stories brought together in one display.

Choosing a frame…

Many of my past display options seemed to encourage comparison between portrait and still life; I wanted to avoid the pairing of portraits and still life prints. Therefore, I decided to go with a display option that allows free association. My exhibition piece will display a set of portrait, and still life based work that is brought together by the context of the audio displayed in-between.

I decided to visit ‘City Arts’ (a framers) to discuss my exhibition piece. I had to think carefully about how to frame my work and what would do my piece justice. I had already printed my photographs in the darkroom; my final piece would consist of six 14 x 14” prints. I was able to take these along to aid decisions on mounting and framing. We came to conclusion that a minimum 2 ½ inch mount board would be needed, I decided to push this to a 3 inch mount to give a little bit more white breathing space for each print, so that they don’t seem tightly packed or cluttered.

In my research I found that white frames weren’t distracting to the work and were being used in contemporary practice. I therefore compared two white frames. The first option was a very thin white frame (photographs on the left page). It was heavily painted this caused the frame to look cheap; even though it was wood it looked like plastic. The second frame I looked at was thicker (photographs on the right page). It hadn’t been so heavily painted and you could see the grain of the wood showing through; I like this aesthetic, it will look professional in an exhibition. Having looked at other artists that use white frames at contemporary exhibitions, I found that the thick frame was more suitable. The two different frames that I looked at were different tones of white. The first frame was a ‘Brilliant White’, whereas the second frame was a warmer creamier white. I felt that the warmer white best suited the tones in my prints. I therefore also chose a warm white mount board to compliment the frame. I reached this decision by laying out mounts with the frame in front of me so that I could see visually how they looked together. Having taken all of this into consideration I’ve decided to go for the second thicker frame with a warm white mount.

I took these photos so that I could come away and compare the two frames, allowing me to reflect and think carefully before making my final decision. Having made my final decisions I revisited the framers to order my frames. I realised I had to plan well in advance ready for final exhibition; the frames took two weeks to be made, so I am glad that I thought ahead. For a student this seemed a lot to spend on frames, however, I am so pleased with the outcome and the quality. I have taken a professional contemporary approach to display; I feel this has paid off. Having picked up my frames I’m really pleased with the aesthetic, it allows each piece to breathe; to be looked at individually. However, it also allows them to be brought together to create a whole wall display that shows the journey and discovery of my cultural heritage.