Category Archives: Annu Palakunnathu Matthew.

Research : Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew.

I am really grateful to Catherine for bringing the work of Annu Palakunnathu Matthew to my attention.

Annu is a professor of photography at Rhode Island University. Born in England she moved back to India with her parents at the age of 10 . Using a Holga toy camera Memories of India depicts her experience of growing up in India. The choice of camera was deliberate , small and unobtrusive she was able to capture dream- like images , hazy memories not quite clear , the vignetting and light leaks , characteristic of toy cameras , add to the overall atmosphere.

She studied and majored in mathematics but additionally joined a photography class during that time. She moved to the USA in 1992 to study photography. Having lived in 3 countries she understands not only how it feels to try and assimilate into a different culture but also somehow not quite belong. An Indian from India explores this concept and challenges perceptions of stereotypes. Self-portaits are paired with scanned images of C19th Native Americans , each image is additionally accompanied by a line of text.The text is factual and “the simplicity of each caption allows the viewer to work with the profundity of each image at a personal and emotive level. ” (Short, 2011, pg. 144).
Some examples of the paired titles/text below:
Red Indian ———————————————— Brown Indian
Traditional American Indian and Child ———— Contemporary Indian American & Stepchild
American Indian with head covered—————— Indian American with head covered

The Virtual Immigrant expands on her study of culture and identity. She explores how globalisation and digital technology have removed geographic and cultural borders that enable Indian call centre workers to migrate , without ever leaving their country, acquiring both traditional and Western identities. Shown as lenticular prints which, along with audio interviews , they question the consequences of being a virtual immigrant.

I particularly like her Re-Generation series and found it most inspiring as I am working on my 2nd assignment having chosen Time as my concept. Working with families of 3 or more generations of women , the majority of whom were strangers , she chose photographs from their family albums which she then scanned. These images were re-enacted with the women in similar poses as the original photographs. The scanned and new images were edited extensively in Photoshop , creating “snippets of time in a single frame” that “collapse the past” (Palakunnathu Matthew, 2009) . The images are presented as animations on a HD TV that is placed in a matted old frame so initially appear to be conventional photographs. The digitally enhanced animated images , in a constant flux , are unique reminders of time as the past becomes the present and age morphs into youth before the onlookers eye.

References / Bibliography

Short , M. (2011) Creative Photography:Context and Narrative. Lausanne : Ava Publishing.
Accessed 2/2/2015
Accessed 2/2/2015
Accessed 7/2/2015