New Delhi ~ India
The Indian photographer Dayanita Singh was honoured for the high quality of her photographs, for her complex but clear view of modern life in India and for introducing a new aesthetic into Indian photography. Dayanita Singh is a master photographer who offers an acute vision of contemporary Indian realities that have been hidden or ignored. Early projects centred on the experience of women in various communities, such as a girl in a Benares ashram (I am as I am, 1999). Singh’s photo-book Myself Mona Ahmed (2001) includes written self-descriptions by the eunuch whose life is portrayed, a pioneering attempt at allowing the photographic subject self-representation. Singh then turned her lens on the rising wealthy class (Privacy, 2003), documenting India’s new elite in their fine homes surrounded by symbols of both traditional and post-colonial prosperity. She has also captured the ruined environment of the old elite of Goa and recent work concerns human absence/presence in places and objects. The quality of her compositions, with precise control of every element within the frame and poetic play of light and shadow, and the intellectual insight and subtle social commentary in her focus on the private and the interior, have won international acclaim and influenced the new generation of local photographers.