© Zubin Pastakia 2009

ET Interview

The Economic Times featured the Cinemas Project last weekend and did a little Q&A session with me. The web version seems unedited and has a few errors (NB: I wouldn't call myself an NYU alumnus; and it is a "knotted relationality" not "knotted rationality" between past and present ). 

Check it out here if you're interested. 


Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009)

"The “bricoleur”[’s]. . . universe of instruments is closed and therules of his game are always to make do with “whatever is at hand.” . . . Further, the “bricoleur” also, and indeed principally, derives his poetry from the fact that he does not confine himself to accomplishment and execution: he “speaks” not only with things, as we have already seen, but also through the medium of things: giving an account of his personality and life by the choices he makes between the limited possibilities. The “bricoleur” may not ever complete his purpose but he always puts something of himself into it."
—Claude Lévi-Strauss



Some portraits from earlier this year for a Tehelka editorial...

Sooni, 2009

Kiran, 2009

Kalki, 2009


Lens Culture Awards

The results of the first annual Lens Culture International Exposure Awards were just announced.

For about four years now, Lens Culture has been an invaluable repository of international photography as well as a resource for insightful essays, interviews and analysis.

I was quite happy to be one of the 25 photographers who received an "Honorable Mention Award" (in the portfolio category) on their website. I had sent in a selection from the Cinemas Project series.

You can find the other photographers that are featured (and links to their websites) here.



Honoured to be featured on Seshu's Tiffinbox. Seshu is a photographer, blogger and tweeter nonpareil. 

©2009 Seshu Photography

If you're looking for a wedding photographer in the United States, check out Seshu's work on his website.


Cinema Halls Update

I have updated the Cinemas Project page on the website with images made in the last year and a half. Do take a look.

I've been photographing cinema halls in Bombay/Mumbai for about 3 years now. As always, feedback, comments and questions are welcomed.

A small selection below:


On the Tube...

And now, for a few words by Aldous Huxley on power, propaganda and politics...

"That we do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."


[5x8 ] Show in Bangalore

© Zubin Pastakia, 2007

The [5x8] group show makes its last stop in Bangalore at the Tasveer gallery from the 27th March to the 14th of April. The other photographers showing their work are: Mahesh Shantaram, Rajib De, Sudharak Olwe and Vinay Mahidar.

Check it out if you are in Bangalore at the time and bring your friends and family.


IFA Show in Bangalore

Mathuradas Estate, Colaba, Mumbai © Zubin Pastakia 2007

The above print will be exhibited at "The Big Picture", a show being held in Bangalore to raise funds for the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) on April 5-8 at the WelcomArt Gallery (ITC Windsor) and at Gallery Sumukha from April 10-15.
Check out the site to view the other artists that are showing.



Rohit Chopra, of the wonderful blog Anti-History/In Another life, comments on reality television:
In general, I don't enjoy reality shows that revolve around some kind of contest, even if some can be watchable. To me, the competitive reality show subgenre seems based on the principles of humiliation and hierarchy. A group of experts evaluate, often in unqualifiedly obnoxious mode, a group of people clearly placed lower than them on a scale of achievement designed by television network executives. The contestants are expected to show deference to the authority of the experts. As time progresses, whether they win or lose, the contestants are meant to demonstrate gratitude for what they have learnt, and share, often misty-eyed, how they have shed their immature selves, like snakes after moulting.

Competition-based reality shows also reek of a get-rich-quick, gaming-the-system kind of air. And the shows are presented to viewers in an ambivalent tone that simultaneously celebrates and reviles the baseness of human nature. We are asked to witness how the lure of money or fame will compel humans to backstab each other, sabotage their colleagues' opportunities, and scheme to emerge victorious from a labryinth of intrigue. What such shows present--aside from any particular competition- is the principle of competition itself. And that too, at its very ugliest.


The Participatory Panopticon

Jamais Cascio on the inevitable rise of what he calls The Participatory Panopticon:
Soon -- probably within the next decade, certainly within the next two -- we'll be living in a world where what we see, what we hear, what we experience will be recorded wherever we go. There will be few statements or scenes that will go unnoticed, or unremembered. Our day to day lives will be archived and saved. What’s more, these archives will be available over the net for recollection, analysis, even sharing.
And we will be doing it to ourselves.

This won't simply be a world of a single, governmental Big Brother watching over your shoulder, nor will it be a world of a handful of corporate siblings training their ever-vigilant security cameras and tags on you. Such monitoring may well exist, probably will, in fact, but it will be overwhelmed by the millions of cameras and recorders in the hands of millions of Little Brothers and Little Sisters. We will carry with us the tools of our own transparency, and many, perhaps most, will do so willingly, even happily.

I call this world the Participatory Panopticon.
As the folks at Remixing Anthropology point out, amongst other things, this raises important ethical questions about image making in the digital age.