“Photos of the Gods”: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India. Front Cover. Christopher Pinney. Oxford University Press, – Idols and images – Printed and bound in Hong Kong British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Pinney, Christopher ‘Photos of the Gods’: the printed image and political. : Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India (): Christopher Pinney: Books.

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‘Photos of the Gods’ by Christopher Pinney from Reaktion Books

In these images the beholder is a worshipper, drinking the eyes of the deity that gazes directly back at him. The mutual obsession between film and chromolithography is inscribed right from the start of the moving picture era.

Its political impact should have guaranteed it a more significant place than those occupied by the Calcutta Art Studio and the Ravi Varma Press.

The visions of India that Ravi Varma and others conjured throughout this tumultuous period became increasingly political and contested. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books. To get near the image you need to join this queue, but you can easily melt into the jostling throng at the back. In late nineteenth-century India we might say that the medium of oil paint stands for chfistopher materiality and substance equivalent to history itself, a chronotopic tangibility that photls representational strategies had never fully achieved: A messenger warns Ravana of his peril.

The historical record is unusually rich in the detail it provides of the consumption of visual images. Further hsra actions included Bhagat Singh and B.

“Photos of the Gods”

The railway, the telegraph and chrisyopher products of Western civilization came into use; but these did not mend matters, because all such innovations could neither touch nor stimulate the ideals on which the life of the land depended.


The huge Chitrashala litho illus. What is more, the knowledge need to produce vernacular bombs is simple: Recent writings on India have described a new popular religious-nationalistic imaginary as a product of a specific time and specific technologies. Throughout the whole of the Deccan, the mind of the people is. A couple are close copies of Calcutta Art Studio and Ravi Varma Press lithographs and some reflect the influence of reference material such as the catalogues produced by a German company L.

Then down again, as we peer through a window at a silver and gold chak, a huge grinding stone used to prepare food for Shrinathji.

However, I hope to show that in this sometimes bewildering zone new narratives are established that may be quite disjunct from the familiar stories of a non-visual history. The very first set of bromide postcard designs printed in was registered in Calcutta in July gosd The first play I saw was the combat of the hero Rama with the demon Ravana.

‘Photos of the Gods’: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India

The main protagonists offer their heads to Mother India on the left. Experience shows that even a cat shut up in a house rushes with vehemence upon a person who confines [it there] and tries to kill it. The Possibility of a Visual History. Initially it appeared that there would be no objection to the use of such stamps. In part, this history was determined by a dialectical constraint: When Ravana approaches, his daughter-in-law of course hides.

There is a great difference between the bird who roams at will through sky and forest and the parrot who is put into a large cage of gold or even jewels!


Depth is rejected in favour of cgristopher complexity of surface and clarity rejected in favour of uncertainty. Fortunately several detailed documents exist that allow us partly to answer this question. The juxtaposition of a series of painted episodes from the Ramayan with, at the bottom, the actors who portrayed Ram and Sita in the Doordarshan television serialization of this epic embodies this historical introduction 9 2 Scenes from chritopher Ramayan c.

In these images produced at the apex of independent nationhood we will find all the terms of the allegory explicitly present.

This revolt was most clearly crystallized around Ramakrishna and would find a very precise articulation in the writing of one of his followers, Swami Saradananda Sarat Chandra Chakravarty: A small number of prints barely succeed in getting their subjects to participate in this new space cgristopher the xenoreal.

I have suggested that my reading of the history of mass-produced Hindu ritual art shows that this early 92 photos of the gods christopheg The painter Narottam Narayan Sharma, c.

Photos of the Gods: The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India

She gode killed several demons in the past. The story presented here complicates this narrative and suggests a much greater depth to what are often seen as recent struggles.

This sign advertises the presence of the oldest surviving picture publishers, the firm of Hem Chander Bhargava, founded inwhich still occupies its original modest first-floor offices. In front of this is heaped another mountain, this time of many thousands of rupee notes and coins.