Pranlal Patel: Ahmedabad, India (1937)
Veteran photographer Pranlal Patel died this past Jan 2014 at the age of 105. Patel was one of the pioneer photographers in the state, who had taken pictures during the pre-independence, post-independence and post-liberalisation eras. He is remembered for his photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.
In 1937, Patel was approached by Ahmedabad’s Jyoti Sangh, a Gujarati women’s social reform organization, which hired him to photograph women engaged in a variety of economic activities that supported the growing city’s life. Refocusing the Lens: Pranlal K. Patel’s Photographs of Women at Work in Ahmedabad provides unprecedented insight into the lives of working-class women as they performed a range of labor activities inside their homes as well as within the city’s neighborhoods and its major markets. Challenging the archival view of women’s work as limited to the domestic sphere, isolated, and sex-segregated, Patel’s photographs reveal a complex labor landscape in which women worked alongside men in textile production, small businesses, and manual labor.
The Wellin Museum of Art presents the first U.S. exhibition of photographs by celebrated Indian photographer Pranlal K. Patel. On view February 1 through April 15, 2014, Refocusing the Lens: Pranlal K. Patel’s Photographs of Women at Work in Ahmedabad features 35 images that document the lives of women in the workforce in early twentieth-century India, as well as several other related works by the artist, and the original camera Patel used to capture these arresting images. -via artdaily
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