The Travelling Photo Studio

Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa


A collaborative effort between artist Hanif Kureshi and Indian art historian Prof. Jyotindra Jain, ‘The Travelling Photo Studio’ was conceptualised and produced as a photo studio, the likes of which dotted our country extensively till a few decades ago. Set in the modern world, it was the duo’s way of familiarising today’s youth with an aesthetic sensibility and a celebrated cultural phenomenon from India’s past.

Photobooth by Hanif Reveals St Art Goa 2019 Pranav Gohil 12

With widespread accessibility to mobile phone cameras and social media platforms like Instagram, today we are clicking more images than ever before. To the Instagram generation, the Studio sought to offer the chance to experience an era gone by – one in which creating images was a rare and time-consuming enterprise. To the parents and grandparents of today’s generation, the Studio offered a chance to relive many treasured memories.

Photobooth by Hanif Reveals St Art Goa 2019 Pranav Gohil 34

Three booths, designed and produced as photo-studio lookalikes, together composed the Travelling Studio. The booths adapted an image from ‘Indian Popular Culture – The Conquest of the World as Picture’ – an exhibition curated by eminent Indian art and cultural historian Dr. Jyotindra Jain, to form the backdrop of the studio. These backdrops were hand-painted by artists Trivendra Krisshna and Kafeel.

Furnished with varying props – ranging from a bicycle to chairs to a multi-hued umbrella and artificial flowers, with their hand-painted backdrops - the three booths also provided spectators with a fine glimpse of the aesthetic that was dominant in the Indian visual culture of the 70s and 80s.

Originally produced as part of the Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 in Goa, the Travelling Photo Studio has also been a part of exhibitions in the cities of New Delhi and Chennai.