Photography

“Ummijaan's Pictures Were Nice”: Excited about Haleema Hashim's Images


Fig. 1. Jabeen Riaz, (from left to right:) Yasmin Ismail, Haleema Hashim, Nihaal Faizal, Kiran Shakeel and Chinar Shah in Bay Pride Apartments in Ernakulam, 2013, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 1. Jabeen Riaz, (from left to proper:) Yasmin Ismail, Haleema Hashim, Nihaal Faizal, Kiran Shakeel and Chinar Shah in Bay Delight Residences in Ernakulam, 2013, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

On a day in 2013, a dozen individuals have been gathered within the bed room of a high-rise house occupied by eighty-five-year-old Haleema Hashim in Ernakulam, the monetary district of the South Indian metropolis of Cochin (determine 1). Haleema’s daughters, Yasmin, Jabeen, and similar twins Suman and Kiran; her niece; and her daughter-in-law Tasneem have been seated at her bedside, passing round picture albums and answering questions posed by her great-grandson Nihaal Faizal, who was visiting from Bangalore. Nihaal was standing subsequent to Haleema, whom he referred to as “Ummijaan,” and holding the Agfa Isolette III that she had wielded for nearly three many years. Names and dates have been looked for, recollections have been conjured, shared, revisited, and confused, and Haleema’s youngsters, cousins, aunts, uncles and penpals emerged because the contributors — or, as Ariella Azoulay writes in The Civil Contract of Images (2008), the residents — of her pictures.[1]

A 12 months later, I, too, turned concerned on this spirited cosmopolitan and transgenerational photographic encounter. I used to be not household, neither spoke nor understood the language by which its conversations have been occurring, and was watching this explicit episode as a video on a laptop computer in London. My participation stemmed from my doctoral analysis on the practices and afterlives of beginner pictures in India, which had led me to get in contact with Nihaal once I noticed an entry below his title on the crowd-sourced on-line archive Indian Reminiscence Undertaking. “130 — My great-grandmother, the Incredible Photographer” launched Haleema as one of many solely photographers, and definitely the only lady, to enthusiastically {photograph} within the Cochin-based Kutchi Memon neighborhood to which she belonged.[2] The latter have been Sunni Muslim merchants who had settled within the historic port metropolis from 1815 onward and stay close-knit by way of the Kutchi dialect, resort and seafood companies, marriage, and philanthropy.[3] Particularly, Haleema had moved together with her dad and mom from Rangoon to the densely populated neighborhood of Mattancherry in her early childhood, and following her marriage to Hashim Usman, in 1946, and their rising monetary prosperity, into Yasmin Manzil, a joint household home on the leafy and residential Darussalam Highway in Kochangadi.

Regardless of being an “outsider,” I used to be struck by the playfulness and melancholy of what was unfolding on my display screen, and by how its forged of characters had aged and moved on from the areas, gestures, apparel, and expressions of Haleema’s pictures, taken between the late 1940s and the early 1970s, which I had turn out to be aware of by way of scans made and despatched to me by Nihaal.

Fig. 2. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 2. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 3. Haleema Hashim, Kulsum Ahmed, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 3. Haleema Hashim, Kulsum Ahmed, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 4. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 4. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 5. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 5. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, c.1951, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

In them, the ladies of the family go about their chores and hobbies: stitching on a brand new machine (determine 2), chopping greens, sipping tea from porcelain crockery (determine 3), studying the Qu’ran (determine 4), and skimming the favored Urdu ladies’s magazines Shamma, Sitara, or Hoor, which arrived by put up from Lahore, and “filmi” magazines such because the English-language Display Tales (determine 5). These closest to her, like her sister-in-law Fathima (determine 6) and even her apparently formidable mother-in-law, Zuleikha (determine 7), lookup from these actions with comfortable candor. The kids are, in fact, ever-present: Her niece Selma cycles by (determine 8); a cheeky-faced Tasneem and her sister Naaz are clad in floral-print attire that conflict splendidly with the printed textile Haleema has positioned them in entrance of (determine 9); Suman and Kiran connect themselves to the staircase as a grinning, twinning duo (determine 10) and pose, as people, in entrance of a shiny Ambassador automotive (determine 11); her niece Naheed strikes a starlet’s pose (determine 12), and gamely sizes up a pet goat within the yard (determine 13). Even, or particularly, the youngest youngsters are pictured sinking into the couch (determine 14) or seated atop a desk (determine 15), clutching the phone (determine 16), the digital camera case or no matter gadget was at hand as if it have been a prized toy and standing at consideration, their tiny frames decked out in good fits and footwear and equipment akin to sun shades and hair clips (figures 17 and 18).

Fig. 6. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 6. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 7. Haleema Hashim, Zuleikha Usman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 7. Haleema Hashim, Zuleikha Usman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 8. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 8. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 9. Haleema Hashim, Tasneem Arif and Naaz Naseer, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of  Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 9. Haleema Hashim, Tasneem Arif and Naaz Naseer, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 10. Haleema Hashim, Suman Zia and Kiran Shakeel, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 10. Haleema Hashim, Suman Zia and Kiran Shakeel, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 11. Haleema Hashim, Suman Zia, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 11. Haleema Hashim, Suman Zia, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

As the lads of the household spent the day at their workplaces in Matancherry, they’re extra elusive figures. It’s even seemingly that their relative absence in Yasmin Manzil allowed the others to be rather less self-conscious, a bit of extra frivolous of their grins, winks, and thrives, their photographic traversing of this world.

Fig. 12. Haleema Hashim, Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 12. Haleema Hashim, Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 13. Haleema Hashim, Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 13. Haleema Hashim, Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 14. Haleema Hashim, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 14. Haleema Hashim, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 15. Haleema Hashim, Javeed Hashim, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 15. Haleema Hashim, Javeed Hashim, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 16. Haleema Hashim, Kiran Shakeel, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 16. Haleema Hashim, Kiran Shakeel, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 17. Haleema Hashim, Anwar Hashim, Arif Hashim, Yasmin Ismail and, on bench, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 17. Haleema Hashim, Anwar Hashim, Arif Hashim, Yasmin Ismail and, on bench, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 18. Haleema Hashim, Riaz Ahmed, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 18. Haleema Hashim, Riaz Ahmed, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

Hashim, nevertheless, is usually seen as a co-conspirator, catching the digital camera’s gaze simply as Naheed vegetation a kiss on his cheek (determine 19) and being the camera-operator every time Haleema was to be its topic. The equanimity he exudes in Haleema’s pictures led Nihaal to say that though his great-grandfather “was always a very strict man (he wouldn’t let his son Javed into the house if he came home late, wouldn’t let his daughter talk to her fiancé) . . . in their pictures I see another side of him — the romantic husband.” [4]

Fig. 19. Haleema Hashim, Hashim Usman and Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 19. Haleema Hashim, Hashim Usman and Naheed Nayeem, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

Within the years since 2014, Haleema has handed away, and these digitized paperwork and interactions have come to chart not simply how an unlikely individual got here to {photograph} in sudden settings, but in addition the intimate politics of gender, faith, and consumption shaping postcolonial modernity. All of the extra so as a result of it’s now obvious that there are various pictures by Haleema that may not be discovered, a number of that have been destroyed or radically reconfigured, some that maybe shouldn’t be seen, and but others that have been by no means made. There are episodes that don’t have any definitive report however throw lengthy shadows, and there are quite a few people who hang-out the proceedings as instigators, saboteurs, and even fragmented arms and torsos fairly than conscientious contributors, empowered residents.

In 1965, for instance, Haleema was prohibited from photographing on the marriage of her cousin Haleema Iqbal on the grounds that taking/making an image of the face of a dwelling being, whether or not animal or human, is haram, forbidden by Islamic regulation. Two photos survive as a result of Haleema clicked down on the shutter simply seconds earlier than she was apprehended by her older cousin Zohra, with Haleema telling Nihaal as many as fifty years later that she had been deeply damage and insulted by this incident.

In 1995, Yasmin Manzil, the first web site of Haleema’s pictures, was offered to the Raksha charity and become a faculty for youngsters with particular wants, and the completely different branches of the household moved into separate residences in Fort Cochin. In 2006, after they have been reunited by their relocation to the Bay Delight Residences tower block in Ernakulam, Haleema distributed her albums amongst her eight youngsters and informed Tasneem, “Take whatever you want of these pictures. Everyone take their own pictures, now where am I going to care for them? I don’t think I can do it anymore.”[5] She additionally burned her negatives, citing tiredness and lack of house and curiosity in persevering with to be chargeable for their preservation as her motive for doing so.

Based on Nihaal, it was across the similar time that one among Haleema’s sisters-in-law “burnt all of her family albums as she believed that photography was the work of the devil. She burnt about a thousand photographs, anything she could find in her house really.”[6] Nihaal, furthermore, was satisfied that “a large part of it might just have been photographs taken by Ummijaan because they used to live in Yasmin Manzil together for a period,” though he careworn that “this photo burning lady very rarely appears in Ummijaan’s pictures — possibly the only woman resident of Yasmin Manzil who doesn’t appear more than a couple of times.”[7] And in 2014, Nihaal’s curation of sixty-six pictures for an exhibition on the Kochi Muziris Biennale entitled Ummijaan Making Seen a World Inside raised the objections of one other sister-in-law. Kulsum opposed the show of these pictures by which she and her daughter Firdaus appeared. She insisted that they weren’t modestly dressed, as she wore a sari and never a burkha, which turned the costume code among the many ladies within the household within the 1990s.

Nihaal, nevertheless, was supported by his grandparents and fogeys and the vast majority of the household’s enthusiasm for the exhibition, such that their priorities took priority. Of biggest significance was having Haleema’s pictures — particularly her portraits of ladies — acknowledged as a creative documentation of Kutchi Memon cultural and social life. Having determined to nonetheless maintain the exhibition (figures 20 and 21), Nihaal defined:

We needed to hold a particular opening for the prolonged household with a censored model of the exhibition to which Kulsum chachi additionally got here. I hung again the images and let the present on. Kulsum chachi heard about this and demanded they be taken down, so I promised to hold a black material over it. My grandmother stitched these and I put in them onto the frames with my mom. Now the images of Kulsum chachi have been put in within the gallery veiled. I positioned the choice on to the guests — they might select to elevate the veils and see the images, or move them by un-seen.[8]

Fig. 20. “Special opening” of ‘Ummijaan: Making Visible A World Within,’ December 2014, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 20. “Special opening” of ‘Ummijaan: Making Visible A World Within,’ December 2014, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 21. “Special opening” of ‘Ummijaan: Making Visible A World Within,’ December 2014, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 21. “Special opening” of ‘Ummijaan: Making Visible A World Within,’ December 2014, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

This text weaves these apparently distinctive moments into the story of Haleema’s pictures. It argues that her follow was acutely embodied and affective, deftly innovating within the slim photographic cultures she had entry to by way of native studios, magazines, and movies; and that it entails an equally intricate afterlife. I attend to each to the pictures and to their assortment, digitization, and publicization by Nihaal, which has remodeled them into websites of fond household recollections and neighborhood representations, in addition to of heated contestation.

Haleema taught herself the way to {photograph} when her husband, Hashim, was given the Agfa Isolette III by his cousin Saleh Mohammad round 1949. As the top of Indomarine, one among Asia’s largest seafood companies and a politician of some success, Mohammad typically returned from travels bearing costly and trendy objects. This explicit object was a light-weight folding digital camera requiring 120 mm movie that was produced in Germany and offered worldwide from the late 1940s.

By holding it regular within the palm of her hand, Haleema might set shutter pace and aperture, convey it as much as her eye, peer by way of a small viewfinder to compose the picture, and press down on the shutter-release button; the movie was wound by turning a wheel in the back of the digital camera till the body quantity appeared in a bit of pink window. The digital camera was identified for its reliability, sturdiness, and unobtrusiveness, however turned outdated in round 1960,[9] by which period Haleema had transitioned to a Yashica twin lens reflex digital camera.

Its operation entailed a special sort of wanting and dealing with, not least as a result of “the upper lens projects an image of the subject via a mirror on to a ground glass screen in the top of the camera, while the lower one projects a similar image on to the film: the ground glass image therefore shows at all times the full-size picture as it will appear on the negative, upright but reversed left to right.”[10] The Yashica additionally had a magnifier, which might have allowed Haleema to critically focus the picture; a built-in framefinder, enabling direct imaginative and prescient at eye degree; and a depth of area indicator.[11]

As defined in a recent consumer information, it labored finest when held “as steady as possible; the slightest shake, even if its effect is not visible in the negative, becomes apparent in the enlargement,” a lot in order that it concerned “sling[ing] the camera around your neck, supporting it against the chest,” and “stand[ing] with your legs apart for extra steadiness”; and in “special situations . . . hold[ing] the camera above your head to shoot over crowds . . . shoot[ing] around the corner . . . or for action shots you can use the eye-level finder.” “[T]ime exposures,” then again, meant “mount[ing] the camera on a tripod” and dealing “the shutter with the aid of the cable release.”[12]

Fig. 22. Hashim Usman and Haleema Hashim, Self-portrait, c.1955, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 22. Hashim Usman and Haleema Hashim, Self-portrait, c.1955, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

A portrait of Haleema and Hashim taken of their bed room in 1955 signifies how profoundly this digital camera embedded itself of their lives, and the way they got here up with their very own methods of photographing (determine 22). Haleema poses upright and considerably at an angle for Hashim, who, in flip, is absorbed within the process of taking a look at her picture because it seems within the viewfinder. The oval mirror they’re standing in entrance of delightfully doubles and fragments their our bodies and concentrates the house by which they stand. Within the reflection, Hashim’s sleeve appears to the touch Haleema’s sari palu; and Haleema, although turning her head towards her husband, seems to be out of the {photograph} with an anticipatory, virtually mischievous smile. It additionally brings to the fore the motif of her sari and the slender, silvery class of her earrings and necklace, suggesting that Haleema had dressed as much as be photographed.

Certainly, every little thing about Haleema’s pictures was deliberate. She persuaded her husband to purchase rolls of black-and-white movie for her, and to have them developed and printed on the native pictures studios in Fort Cochin throughout his night walks. The bursts of colour pictures dated to 1959 and 1966 (figures 23–26), in the meantime, have been the results of just a few movie rolls given to her by Hashim’s enterprise affiliate, who had returned from America, and her daughter Yasmin, who lived in Kuwait.[13]

Fig. 23. Haleema Hashim, Firdaus Aslam, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 23. Haleema Hashim, Firdaus Aslam, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 24. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1959, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 24. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1959, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 25. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, 1966, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 25. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, 1966, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 26. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1959, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 26. Haleema Hashim, Selma Rehman, 1959, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

In accordance with the conventions of aniconism dictated and adopted by the vast majority of Kutchi Memons in Cochin, none of her photos was framed or displayed brazenly in Yasmin Manzil or any of her family’ homes.[14] As a substitute, Haleema organized them in albums, likewise sourced from the studios, rigorously putting every within the 4 little paper, and later plastic, corners designed to carry a picture in place. She saved these albums in a cabinet in her bed room, and when the kids requested to see them, she would take them out. Then, below Haleema’s directions to “be careful not to tear the paper” between the images, they’d have a look at them collectively.[15] Often, Haleema would ship {a photograph} to family and to associates whom she knew by way of the “penpals section” of her Urdu journals, together with a girl who lived in Haleema’s birthplace, Rangoon, and her closest buddy, Zuleikha, who lived in Madras. She imprinted a stamp bearing her title and handle (determine 27) on the again of the {photograph} simply as many business and beginner photographers did within the twentieth century, although she might need carried out this in relation to the penpal tradition she was a part of.

Fig. 27. Stamp belonging to Haleema Hashim, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 27. Stamp belonging to Haleema Hashim, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

Haleema additionally submitted not less than one {photograph} to {a magazine}. A portrait of Jabeen, who was born in 1956 (determine 28), was printed in a problem of Hoor with a counterpart now in Nihaal’s possession (determine 29) suggesting Haleema had singled out this picture from a collection.[16]

Fig. 28. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, c.1956, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 28. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, c.1956, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 29. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, c.1956, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 29. Haleema Hashim, Jabeen Riaz, c.1956, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 30. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 30. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 31. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 31. Haleema Hashim, Zainab Usman, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

The taking of pictures was by far essentially the most deliberate, time-consuming, and bodily arduous facet of Haleema’s pictures. Based on Tasneem, Haleema would “call us somewhere, make us pose and then photograph us. She wouldn’t come photograph us in the middle of something.”[17] She typically photographed her sisters-in-law, daughters, and nieces, additionally sporting signature saris and jewellery in entrance of her bed room mirror (figures 30, 31), but she particularly “liked the entrance — the veranda outside. There was a line of sofas there and it was filled with windows and the door, so there was a lot of light. A lot of the photographs were taken there. On the staircase, in the garden.”[18]

I used to be proven these websites once I visited Yasmin Manzil along with Tasneem, Arif, and Nihaal in October 2016. The home had a considerably gloomy, crowded, and institutional air: The comfy gadgets of furnishings that populate Haleema’s pictures have been changed, partition partitions have come up, and indicators have been put onto the partitions in step with its present use as a special-needs faculty; timber have been felled, and neighboring properties tower over the backyard. That the connectivity between indoor and out of doors areas and the play of sunshine by way of the artwork deco window and door grilles impressed Haleema’s pictures was nonetheless apparent (figures 32–35).

It was these options that Haleema would use to place her topics “in place.” Tasneem recalled that Haleema would invoke the English phrase mild fairly than the Kutchi phrase sau to situation instructions akin to “Move your face toward the light” and

the sunshine’s coming from there, in the event you stand there, the sunshine will present properly. Stand as if the sunshine is coming from behind you. Transfer this facet. Stand by the window . . . Sit, stand. Sit there, stand there — by the door, by the window. . . . Within the backyard. That’s about all I bear in mind. Stand with a smile. Look right here. Look there. She would say issues like that. There aren’t many footage by which she asks us to take a look at the digital camera, are there? Largely it was pure, as if the digital camera wasn’t there.[19]

Fig. 32. Window on the ground floor of Yasmin Manzil in 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 32. Window on the bottom flooring of Yasmin Manzil in 2016, {photograph} by creator.
Fig. 33. Window by staircase in Yasmin Manzil in 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 33. Window by staircase in Yasmin Manzil in 2016, {photograph} by creator.
Fig. 34. Bottom of staircase in Yasmin Manzil in 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 34. Backside of staircase in Yasmin Manzil in 2016, {photograph} by creator.
Fig. 35. Back of Yasmin Manzil in 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 35. Again of Yasmin Manzil in 2016, {photograph} by creator.

Haleema additionally photographed her topics within the extra luxurious grounds of Rafeeq Mansion, which was owned by one other department of the household and instantly reverse Yasmin Manzil, and within the parks of Cochin. Tasneem remembers happening

photographic excursions to Subash Park in Ernakulam. We’d go there at midday, when the solar was its strongest. Ummi and the youngsters from Fort Cochin would come there with the motive force and we’d meet them on the park, as we lived shut by. All the youngsters would get very excited and would dress in good garments with brilliant colors. The entire thing revolved round pictures. We’d rapidly go, take the images and depart, as it might be too sizzling.[20]

Though Tasneem insists her reminiscence of the particularity of Haleema’s follow is restricted, she presents a compelling account of Haleema taking advantage of her Afga Isolette III and Yashica cameras through the use of pure lighting and favoring explicit angles, poses, areas, distances, and, when utilizing colour movie, shades of pink and inexperienced. She reveals, furthermore, how completely Haleema’s topics additionally familiarized themselves with these photographic instructions. This doesn’t imply that they at all times complied with what Haleema wished; in addition they ignored, misunderstood, and resisted her by not sitting nonetheless, not transferring in time, not wanting up, shying away, twisting round, or, as instructed by the top peeking by way of the doorway behind an orderly association of Yasmin’s associates (determine 36), putting themselves within the image house and claiming the digital camera’s — if not Haleema’s — consideration.

Fig. 36. Haleema Hashim(?), Yasmin Ismail and friends, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 36. Haleema Hashim(?), Yasmin Ismail and associates, 1960s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 37. Haleema Hashim, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 37. Haleema Hashim, Rafeeq Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 38. Haleema Hashim, Masood Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 38. Haleema Hashim, Masood Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

The identical is likely to be mentioned of the obscured faces and mysterious shadows that maintain sway over sure pictures. In a portrait that’s ostensibly of Haleema’s cherubic nephew Rafeeq, a sari-clad presence is half hid in a doorway (determine 37); in one other, an nameless arm holds Rafeeq’s brother, Masood, as he swings (determine 38). Whereas speaking about these pictures, Nihaal acknowledged how:

[T]right here have been many maids employed at Yasmin Manzil, together with Sarah who was an previous woman that taken care of Ummijaan’s mother-in-law Zuleikha and who was additionally the cook dinner. There have been additionally Ayesha and Hajira throughout Nani [Tasneem]’s childhood. There have been additionally another helpers George and Anthony that will clear the home. Mary was a nanny that taken care of Jabeen and later her youngsters, and likewise Suman and Kiran. She too stayed with household till she died. Mary was Ummijaan’s maid and Tracy was Kulsum chachi’s maid.[21]

Nihaal mentioned he was then reminded of “a story about Mary that my grandfather is convinced is real. Mary was apparently haunted by a ghost and would suddenly speak in a British accented English in a man’s voice (Mary who only otherwise knew and spoke Malayalam).”[22] Persevering with this story, which evocatively summons the specter of subaltern contestations of elite authority, Nihaal specified that the ghost was thought to belong to “a man who lived in a Fort Cochin tea estate house that she had once visited. This apparently went on for 2–3 years.” [23] Though Nihaal’s grandmother Tasneem had “never heard this,” his grandfather was positive that “it would especially happen when Zuleikha scolded her. Nana doesn’t remember what she would say or how the ghost went away.” [24]

Such sparks of contingency, or concurrence, not solely punctuate Haleema’s pictures,[25] but in addition constructed Haleema and her topics’ impressions of different visible cultures, such because the pictures produced by professionals in studios or for magazines. The latter was discovered wanting, though Haleema’s pictures was knowledgeable by skilled practices to the extent that she enlisted family objects and youngsters’s toys as props, items of furnishings to replicate, angle, and add texture, and vegetation within the backyard to create “naturalized” backdrops. She was evidently decided to craft a follow akin to “formal” and at occasions even “filmi” portraiture, evincing impatience and incomprehension in her topics and, within the case of 1 or two of the youthful youngsters, a usually annoyed try to flee the body (determine 39). Tasneem, nevertheless, was eager to distinguish these experiences from the method of getting her portrait taken on the native studio, for which her descriptions have been temporary to the purpose of reducing, and prefixed by an much more adamant insistence that she couldn’t bear in mind it as a result of they hardly went to the studio, regardless of Nihaal reminding her of the existence of a number of studio portraits inside the household albums.[26]

Fig. 39. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 39. Haleema Hashim, Yasmin Ismail, 1950s, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

When pressed on the topic, Tasneem finally conceded that on events akin to her marriage ceremony anniversary and a baby’s birthday, they’d “have to go” and would accomplish that “together, never alone.” She seemed that it was a rushed and crowded affair of getting one’s picture “taken,” one after the opposite.[27] Tasneem critiqued how “the pictures in the studio were highly made up,” not least as a result of they’d themselves must “apply make up” and have been subjected to all types of contortions and distortions that didn’t “feel natural.” Consequently, she discovered that “the pictures at the studio would seem like they were too still . . . our eyes, our eyebrows would look completely artificial. They would be made dark and distorted.”[28]

Tasneem’s judgment harbors a eager loyalty to her aunt and mother-in-law and maybe a dislike for the studio that was private to her, for as Christopher Pinney’s work on the northwestern Indian city of Nagda has proven, the studio is so typically an area of enjoyable, play, and fantasy.[29] But having visited studios in Ernakulam (figures 40 and 41), which haven’t modified drastically because the 1950s, I used to be in a position to think about the impatience of a younger woman ready within the reception space to be ushered right into a dressing room with a three-quarter-length mirror and a few hairbrushes laid out on a bit of shelf. And, having shuffled into the principle studio by way of a slender door, her reluctance to pose for a photographer who, whereas not essentially a person (the spouse of the present proprietor of Krishna Nair Studios typically takes purchasers’ portraits), was in all probability a stranger. Being anticipated to face nonetheless towards an ornamental paper backdrop that was peeling on the edges, to perch on chairs whose leathery padding was unmistakably worn from earlier clients or whose scratchy weaving would possibly tear on the comfortable material of her garments, and to put on make-up below the warmth and glare of studio lamps would possibly properly have induced claustrophobia and estrangement for Tasneem and her family.

Fig. 40. Reception area of photo studio in Ernakulam, 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 40. Reception space of picture studio in Ernakulam, 2016, {photograph} by creator.
Fig. 41. Studio area of photo studio in Ernakulam, 2016, photograph by author.Fig. 41. Studio space of picture studio in Ernakulam, 2016, {photograph} by creator.
Fig. 42. Studio photograph of Zainab Usman, 1960s, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 42. Studio {photograph} of Zainab Usman, 1960s, courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

This disparity can also be evident within the distinction between Haleema’s pictures and people taken professionally. A studio portrait of Haleema’s sister-in-law Zainab exhibits her photographed alone, but there’s little individuality about her (determine 42). Her sari merges into the background, her hair is held in a fairly stern heart parting, and her expression is unfathomable. Though this picture has additionally been cherished — it has survived till right now — Tasneem’s tendency, when taking a look at it, was to gravitate again to the reminiscence of Haleema’s pictures, to repeat that its results/impacts have been “more natural,” and to heartily conclude that “Ummijaan’s pictures were nice. They were nice to look at.”[30]

Good is hardly essentially the most evocative phrase, however its steady invocation by those that are in and have checked out Haleema’s pictures is hanging. Even Nihaal, an artist and the member of his household most inclined to broaden on the technical and aesthetic particulars of Haleema’s pictures, described his great-grandparents’ self-portrait by way of its “nice intimacy.”[31] Good, I’d argue, places into phrases that sense of feeling welcomed and at house in pictures. Regardless of the demanding attributes of Haleema’s digital camera work, so a lot of her topics seem assured and even comfortable to pose. Haleema’s pictures, in each its settings and its strategies, doesn’t merely depict the intimate but in addition instills intimacy, pulling the photographer and the photographed and the {photograph} and its viewer into an in depth sociability.

To emphasise the distinction between Haleema’s pictures and that of the studio is to not deny that Haleema’s work was bold and undertaken with an eye fixed for the class and glamour of the event. In 1950, Haleema portrayed Fathima as a bride (determine 43). She thereafter introduced her digital camera to all of the nuptial ceremonies held within the prolonged household, whether or not at Yasmin Manzil or Rafeeq Mansion, within the gardens of two different homes on Darussalam Highway, or within the massive halls of the Kutchi Memon residences in Ernakulam, generally known as Essa Manzil and Ishaq Manzil. These ceremonies consisted of the Peeti, by which an natural paste was utilized to the bride’s pores and skin over a interval of seven days, [32] the Mehendi, when henna was utilized to her fingers and legs, and the Nikah, [33] which was the precise marriage whereupon all friends have been invited to a luxurious however easy meal. [34] As Tasneem defined to me and her grandchildren in an oral-history session prompted by our picture viewings, these ceremonies have been at all times segregated: “We would never see the men. It was sometimes in two houses. Like when a wedding happened at Rafeeq Mansion, the men would be there and the women would be across the road in Yasmin Manzil.” [35]

Fig. 43. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 43. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 44. Haleema Hashim, Saira Suleiman, with Firdaus Aslam in the background, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 44. Haleema Hashim, Saira Suleiman, with Firdaus Aslam within the background, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 45. Haleema Hashim, Saira Suleiman, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 45. Haleema Hashim, Saira Suleiman, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

The pictures Haleema took at Peetis, Mehendis, and Nikahs have been virtually completely portraits and that includes the bride alone: They painting Zuleika Salay Mohammed, who was seventeen on the time of her marriage ceremony, in 1953; Selma Rehman and Zebunisa Yousuf, who have been eighteen after they married, in 1954; Mariam Suleiman (eighteen, 1957); Rabia Razaaq (fourteen, 1958); Hairunisa Ibrahim (eighteen, 1959); the sisters Najma Nissar and Haneefa Fayaz (nineteen and eighteen, 1959); Naseema Kassim (twenty, 1960); Saira Suleiman and Hajira Zackria (nineteen and twenty, 1960); Zuleika Karim (twenty-five, 1960); Rahima Hameed (c. 1962); Tahirah Mahmood (nineteen, c. 1965); and Haleema Iqbal (1965) earlier than Zohra’s fateful intervention.[36] All appear to reveal a affected person and attentive relationship between photographer and topic, even when youngsters and others contain themselves (determine 44) and the shyness and uncertainty in a bride’s pose or expression is usually palpable (determine 45). But whereas Fathima, whose direct and light-hearted acknowledgment of the digital camera is so notable elsewhere, turns her head to the facet and pulls her sari tight round her head in a single portrait, others, akin to Hajira, Tahira, and Zebunisa, come throughout as coolly assured and even happy (figures 46–48). And, in actual fact, in one other bridal portrait Haleema made from Fathima (determine 49), her self-consciousness is matched by her apparent amusement.

Fig. 46. Haleema Hashim, Hajira Zackria, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 46. Haleema Hashim, Hajira Zackria, 1960, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 47. Haleema Hashim, Tahira Mahmood, c.1965, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 47. Haleema Hashim, Tahira Mahmood, c.1965, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 48. Haleema Hashim, Zebunisa Yousuf, 1954, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 48. Haleema Hashim, Zebunisa Yousuf, 1954, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.
Fig. 49. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 49. Haleema Hashim, Fathima Abdulla, 1950, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

The portraits additionally interact the particular materiality of mid-twentieth-century Kutchi Memon bridal kinds. Tasneem famous that the brides have been at all times wearing saris, often constituted of nylon material and of a white or cream colour, and that the “jewelry was always new, for every wedding. Back then the bride only wore whatever came from her fiancé’s house. Not a single thing else. Everything would be brought from there. The comb, soap, oil, eyeliner, surma, sandals.” Tasneem might recall the particular manufacturers of those merchandise — “the oil was Tata’s . . . [it was] Jasmine oil. Surma [was] from a brand called Koja” — qualifying that in distinction to how “now it’s all about fashion. Wear what matches . . . back then you wear what they brought. Matching or otherwise.” [37] Tasneem careworn the modesty of this bridal fashion, claiming that “getting the bride dressed wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t have much make up back then, so it was just about combing her hair and putting some powder on her face.” [38]

Though this understated gracefulness brims forth in a portrait of Mariam (determine 50), holding a carefully embroidered white handkerchief as much as her mouth, the teardrop-shaped tiklo on her brow having shifted ever so barely misplaced, the collection as an entire is a outstanding aesthetic negotiation. Or, fairly, it’s a “working out” of pictures, whereby Haleema turned explicit moments within the cultural lifetime of her neighborhood to which she had privileged entry, however at which she was additionally anticipated to be constantly current, into photographic alternatives. In distinction to her “everyday” pictures, her bridal photos explored and stirred up the gendered rituals and regimens of the ceremonial; maybe in addition they supplied comedian aid. On the similar time, they constituted tangible merchandise, for she was in a position to present the bride and her household with lovely representations of themselves to have and to carry, with materials tokens of a big however ephemeral event.

Fig. 50. Haleema Hashim, Mariam Suleiman, 1957, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.Fig. 50. Haleema Hashim, Mariam Suleiman, 1957, 6.35 x 6.35 cm., courtesy of Nihaal Faizal.

This aptitude for element and intimacy was, in fact, extinguished when Haleema stopped photographing the brides in her household and neighborhood, earlier than ceasing to {photograph} altogether within the late 1970s. By this time, others within the household had taken to pictures, with Haleema gifting the Afga Isolette III to her daughter Yasmin and the Yashica to her son Arif, who’s Tasneem’s husband and Nihaal’s grandfather, when he expressed an curiosity in pictures.[39] Marriage ceremony pictures was additionally changing into a well-liked middle- and upper-class phenomenon in Kerala, and the prolonged household started to fee photographers such because the Pleasure brothers, who labored out of a studio in Convent Junction; Joseph Narakkal and Gabriel Babu; and a Kutchi Memon man named Naushad.[40] It was thus snapshots taken on holidays overseas or particular events at house and standardized skilled photos that got here to fill the albums of Haleema’s prolonged household, insofar as they nonetheless stored albums.[41]

It’s tempting to dramatize this loss, and relate it to the fiery exchanges and literal incidents of fireside that stricken Haleema’s pictures from 1965 on. It’s clear that her cousin Zohra’s polemical stance affected — if not altogether obstructed — her enthusiasm for sharing her digital camera work with others, her capability to have it acknowledged and cherished as a useful exercise inside her household and neighborhood. Nihaal and Tasneem concur on how Haleema thereafter by no means carried her digital camera to any weddings, her portrait of Azeeza Karim in 1968 the results of Haleema not eager to refuse the private request of an expensive buddy.[42] She abstained from pictures even on the marriages of her personal daughters and of Tasneem, who married Arif in 1972.

It’s, nevertheless, value underscoring that Haleema’s personal acts and articulation of dissociation, destruction, and dispersion vis-à-vis her pictures have been comparatively quiet, or quietist. Her burning of negatives and distribution of albums have been pragmatic responses to the displacement of her pictures from her personal bed room in a much-loved house to the comparatively impersonal and smaller residences, and her incapability to make and keep them on account of extreme knee and again ache and a stroke that finally left her bedridden. As such, it’s potential to say that Haleema additionally merely let pictures go, devoting her time to much less bodily demanding actions akin to knitting, studying, and watching movies: Whereas her youngsters and grandchildren related her with pictures, her great-grandchildren knew her by way of the sweaters she made them.[43] At one level, Nihaal additionally reviewed his narrative of how Haleema’s pictures got here to an finish:

Whereas initially I felt that . . . Ummijaan . . . was pressured into abandoning her follow by way of some social obligation, I now really feel extra that she had completed what she wished to do. She had documented what she got down to — her youngsters (photographing all eight of them), and the opposite ladies at house, Fathima and Mariam, together with the opposite ladies within the social circle. Fathima left house and Mariam handed away and thus that little bit of the narrative was over too. With the refusal to {photograph} brides got here her choice to decelerate that facet of her documentation, pursuing it solely upon the private insistence of the brides. I really feel it was additionally a response to altering know-how. I don’t really feel that she was ever as comfy with color as she was with black and white, or if comfy in dealing with, then maybe not in precept. There was one thing she had spent many years attempting to grasp — a way of tone, of sunshine and shadow that was completely different from her perceived actuality. It wasn’t the {photograph} as we all know it now, it was the {photograph} as a international picture, as a doc distant from actuality, but one which represented it. After abandoning it there, she by no means actually went again. There are pictures she’s taken, as an example, throughout her travels, however in them she by no means practiced as a photographer, simply took footage, and though later she had entry to digital pictures within the house of the household she by no means tried to interact with the medium.[44]

In actual fact, pondering by way of the trajectory of Haleema’s pictures has led me to concur with Anjali Arondekar’s critique of historians’ attachment to supplies and websites that will reveal all, if solely they could possibly be situated and uncovered, if solely they hadn’t been destroyed; to moments of the previous that will have modified the current, if solely they’d been allowed to flourish.[45] “In the Absence of Reliable Ghosts” (2015) muses on the histories/historiographies that may consequence from “an unsettling of that attachment, from a movement away from the recursive historical dialectic of fulfillment and impoverishment.”[46] Because of this the volatility of Haleema’s pictures just isn’t one thing to be lamented a lot as located inside the on a regular basis and occasional observances of ladies, males, and youngsters in a Kutchi Memon family that proceed into this present day, or learn as a part of the slippery enterprise of relating to at least one’s self and to others.

Such phenomenological alertness is, in any case, what connects two of pictures’s most canonical texts. Walter Benjamin’s Little Historical past of Images (1931) and Roland Barthes’s Digital camera Lucida (1979), although completely different in some ways, discover how the digital camera makes it obligatory, but in addition potential, for a person to come across the world in a different way, step into a special posture, inhabit a special expression, do issues the individual wouldn’t do in another time or place.[47] Images is concerning the anticipation that comes from immersing oneself in a single’s self, or maybe in one thing else, and it may be an expertise that’s sudden and but not essentially disagreeable, and fulfilling and but not straightforward.[48] Although pictures includes transformation, this may encompass slight, virtually imperceptible performances, struggles, and views that Barthes additionally mentioned, however irrespective of gender, by way of “the neutral.”[49]

For Barthes, the “neutral” pertains to “intensities,” “gestures,” and “strategies” that fall into no clear class of optimistic or adverse motion, or dogma. “Shimmer” is “that whose aspect, perhaps whose meaning, is subtly modified according to the angle of the subject’s gaze.”[50] “Shirking” is “to flee one’s responsibilities, to flee conflict . . . to slip, to drift, to escape.”[51] “Weariness” is the “exhausting claim of the individual body that demands the right to social repose.”[52] Barthes additionally catalogs “fright,” “anxiety,” “prayer,” “anger” (which he notes can incessantly manifest as hearth), “benevolence,” “memory/forgetting,” “writing,” “apathy,” “old age,” “color” and “tact.” The latter is, for Barthes, “the nonviolent refusal of reduction, the parrying of generality by inventive, unexpected, nonparadigmatizable behavior, the elegant and discreet flight in the face of dogmatism,” and makes itself felt within the making of so a lot of Haleema’s pictures in addition to within the regimes and modes by way of which they then flow into.[53]

In mild of those interpretations, Kulsum’s insistence on (not) being seen in a sure approach, rendered within the language of non secular modesty, hovers as a tactful response to her household’s (pre)decided choice to host the 2014 exhibition, simply because the makeshift veiling of these pictures by which she seems is likely to be learn as a tactful response on the a part of Nihaal, his grandmother, and mom to Kulsum’s arguably dogmatic stance. As a substitute of a coherent report or definitive illustration, instead of a contract, Haleema’s pictures, extra usually, involves be the playfulness, shyness, boldness, happiness, melancholy, anger, anxiousness and/or weariness of leaning into the picture, of changing into the picture, and of beholding and preserving the picture. It’s these types of emotions and doings that drive Haleema’s pictures because it strikes between albums and screens, Cochin and London, the 1950s and now, that make it a bit of and dwelling historical past value dwelling on.


Mallika Leuzinger is a PhD candidate within the Historical past of Artwork division at College Faculty London. She researches photographic practices and their afterlives in South Asia, tracing a historical past of how the digital camera made its approach into the postcolonial family.

Notes

  1. See Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Images (translated by Rela Mazali and Ruvik Danieli), New York: Zone Books, 2008; and Civil Creativeness: A Political Ontology of Images (translated by Louise Bethlehem), London: Verso, 2012.return to text

  2. Nihaal Faizal, “130 — My Great-Grandmother, the Incredible Photographer,” Indian Reminiscence Undertaking, first printed 2014, http://www.indianmemoryproject.com/tag/haleema-hashim (accessed 17 Could 2016). My analysis focuses notably on ladies’s engagements with pictures. As Siddhartha Ghosh and Sabeena Gadihoke have proven, with the elevated world availability and recognition of the hand-held, film-roll digital camera within the early twentieth century, not least on account of Kodak’s gendered promoting methods, a number of Indian ladies from completely different non secular and cultural, if usually elite, backgrounds took up pictures. See Siddhartha Ghosh, “Zenana Studio: Early Women Photographers of Bengal,” from Taking Photos: The Observe of Images by Bengalis (trans.) Debjani Sengupta, in Trans Asia Images Assessment vol. 4, no. 2, Spring 2014, np., http://hdl.handle.net//spo.7977573.0004.202 (accessed Could 20, 2019); and Sabeena Gadihoke, “The Home and Beyond: Domestic and Amateur Photography by Women in India (1930–1960),” in Sarai Reader: Shaping Applied sciences, 2003, pp. 61–69, http://archive.sarai.net/files/original/ed793cb1e28c39e9081fc479ff7545f8.pdf (accessed Could 20, 2019).return to text

  3. For a quick sketch of the Kutchi Memon neighborhood in Kerala, see Ok. A. Martin, “Kutchi Memons go a long way back,” in The Hindu, 25 July 2008, http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/kutchi-memons-go-a-long-way-back/article1301577.ece (accessed Could 20, 2019). Little or no English scholarship exists on the Kutchi Memon neighborhood. See Asghar Ali Engineer, ed., “Memons,” in Islamic Perspective: A Biannual Journal. A particular situation on Bohras, Khojas and Memons, vol. 1 (January 1988), 41–48,

    http://www.memon.freeservers.com/originmemon1.htm; Mohamed Taher, “Memon Community’s Composition,” http://www.memon.freeservers.com/originmemon.htm (all accessed 10 July 2017). See additionally Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella, “Islamism and Social Reform in Kerala, South India,” in Fashionable Asian Research Vol. 42, No. 2/3 (2008), 317–46. Caroline Osella, “Desires under Reform: Contemporary Reconfigurations of Family, Marriage, Love and Gendering in a Transnational South Indian Matrilineal Muslim Community,” in Tradition and Faith Vol. 13, No. 2 (2012), 241–64. For an outline of the philanthropic orientations of middle- and upper-class Muslim enterprise households, see Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella, “Muslim Entrepreneurs in Public Life between India and the Gulf: Making Good and Doing Good,” in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Vol. 15 (2009), 202–21.return to text

  4. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, Eight July 2015.return to text

  5. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, interview performed on my behalf, transcribed and translated from the Kutchi by Nihaal Faizal, Ernakulam, 27 February 2016.return to text

  6. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, Eight July 2015.return to text

  7. Ibid.return to text

  8. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 20 March 2016.return to text

  9. Steve Walton, “Agfa Isolette III: Agfa Isolette III Description and User Report,” n.d., https://www.uklandscapephotographer.com/agfa-isolette-iii/ (accessed 18 Could 2019). See additionally Mike Elek, “Agfa Isolette III,” Eight February 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3NMTwVTXYQ (accessed 18 Could 2019).return to text

  10. W. D. Emanuel, Yashica Twin Lens Reflex Information. London and New York: The Focal Press, 1964, http://www.3106.net/photo/cam1045.htm (accessed 18 Could 2019).return to text

  11. Ibid.return to text

  12. Ibid.return to text

  13. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  14. All the Kutchi households I visited follow aniconism within the sense that they interpret the open show of photos of people and animals as haram. The one footage displayed on the partitions are of floral or geometric designs; all pictures are stored in albums or envelopes and packing containers in cabinets, though these have been at all times simply accessible and given delight of place in the lounge.return to text

  15. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  16. Ibid.return to text

  17. Ibid.return to text

  18. Ibid.return to text

  19. Ibid.return to text

  20. Praveena Shivram, “The Memory Keeper,” in Arts Illustrate, vol. 2, no. 4 (December 2014–January 2015), pp. 140–52, 144.return to text

  21. Nihaal’s description is knowledgeable by what his grandmother Tasneem [Nani] can bear in mind. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 26 Could 2017.return to text

  22. Nihaal Faizal, Bangalore, e-mail to creator, 26 Could 2017.return to text

  23. Ibid.return to text

  24. Ibid.return to text

  25. Right here, I check with Walter Benjamin’s use of the time period when he wrote: “Despite all the skill of the photographer and all the good planning in the pose of his model, the viewer feels irresistibly compelled to seek out the tiniest spark of concurrence, a here and now, in such an image, with which actuality has seared, so to speak, the characters in the image.” See Walter Benjamin, On Images, ed. E. Leslie (London: Reaktion Books, 2015), 66.return to text

  26. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  27. Ibid.return to text

  28. Ibid.return to text

  29. See Christopher Pinney, Digital camera Indica: The Social Lifetime of Indian Images, Chicago: College of Chicago Press, 1997.return to text

  30. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  31. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 31 January 2015.return to text

  32. Tasneem defined that the Peeti was made by Memon ladies and consisted of “sandalwood, numerous herbs and roots — ayurvedic roots. All of it’s mashed collectively and made right into a paste. Additionally wild turmeric (kasthuri manjal). It’s an natural turmeric used for facials. It’s not the one used for cooking. So this one is nice for the pores and skin. It makes it clean. So this with rosewater, almonds, oil, all combined into it.” Tasneem Arif, interview performed on my behalf, transcribed and translated from the Kutchi by Nihaal Faizal, Ernakulam, 9 January 2019.return to text

  33. Earlier than the Nikah, the bride was bathed in one other natural combination referred to as Kosadi, made from roots and herbs: “All of this is beaten together and put into a cloth that’s wrapped tight and soaked in water, like a spice bag. There would be a special container for this. This process begins the day before the wedding. Water is boiled and the spice bag is soaked in the hot water. This is then sealed and stored for use the next day. It’s not heated again, but used as is, the next day. It stays slightly warm. So after the normal bath, the bride bathes in this.” Tasneem Arif, 2019.return to text

  34. This meal was referred to as the Seerani due to the Seero (semolina halwa) that was served as dessert. Naan and mutton gravy that had been cooked by the households themselves was served, and in contrast to weddings now, there have been no welcome drinks or starters. Cigarettes, chai, and beeda (betel nut that’s chewed) have been distributed to the lads, with Tasneem realizing of just one lady who smoked cigarettes in any respect. Tasneem Arif, 2019.return to text

  35. Tasneem Arif, 2019.return to text

  36. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 29 November 2018.return to text

  37. Tasneem Arif, 2019.return to text

  38. Ibid.return to text

  39. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  40. For a research of marriage ceremony pictures in Kerala that focuses on the late 1990s and early 2000s however makes a number of related observations concerning the social import this pictures took, see Janaki Abraham, 2010. “Wedding Videos in North Kerala: Technologies, Rituals, and Ideas about Love and Conjugality,” in Visible Anthropology Assessment 26(2), 116–27.return to text

  41. Tasneem Arif and Arif Hashim, 2016.return to text

  42. Tasneem Arif, 2019.return to text

  43. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 29 November 2018.return to text

  44. Nihaal Faizal, e-mail to creator, 9 December 2016.return to text

  45. Anjali Arondekar, “In the Absence of Reliable Ghosts: Sexuality, Historiography, South Asia,” in variations: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Research vol. 25, no. 3, 2015, 98–122, 100.return to text

  46. Ibid.return to text

  47. Walter Benjamin, On Images, ed. E. Leslie (London: Reaktion Books, 2015), 67.return to text

  48. Roland Barthes, Digital camera Lucida (London: Classic, 2009), 138.return to text

  49. Roland Barthes, The Impartial: Lecture Course on the Faculty de France (1977–1978) (trans. Rosalind E. Krauss and Denis Hollier), New York: Columbia College Press, 2005.return to text

  50. Ibid., 51.return to text

  51. Ibid., 70.return to text

  52. Ibid., 18.return to text

  53. Ibid., 36. Given the robust intimacy of Haleema’s pictures, it’s important that “tact” figures in Jacques Derrida’s understandings of the idea: “for intimacy (with the friend, the lover) requires a certain distance and incalculable measurements of tact.” See Thomas Dutoit, “From Esthetics of Intimacy to Anesthetics in Extimacy: The Examples of Jacques Derrida,” in L’Esprit Créateu, 44(1), 2004, 17.return to text



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