This is the first visual history of Arunachal Pradesh, a state in northeast India bordering on Tibet/China, Burma and Bhutan. Based on archival and field research, it illustrates a century and a half of cultural change in this culturally diverse and little-known region of the Himalayas.
More than 200 photographs, half archival and half contemporary, reveal that tribal cultures in this remote mountainous region have been continually reacting to external forces and initiating internal innovations.
The Introduction places the archival photographs in their wider context, emphasising the complexity of the colonial encounter and uncovering personal stories behind many of the images. The sequence of photographs, juxtaposing the historical and the contemporary, shows us the uneven and sometimes confusing mixture of past and present that is emerging in Arunachal Pradesh.
Stuart H. Blackburn, Ph.D (1980) in South Asian Studies and Folklore, University of California, Berkeley, is Senior Research Associate at SOAS. He has published ten books on oral literature and culture in India, including Moral Fictions (FFC 278) (2001).
Michael Aram Tarr, MFA (1994) Photography, San Francisco Art Institute, is a freelance photographer working in India since the 1980s and in Arunachal Pradesh for the past ten years. He has held solo exhibitions in San Francisco and exhibited both there and in New Delhi.
Anyone interested in the Himalayas, India, Tibet, tribal cultures and the relation between photography and colonialism.