Her mother Nony Singh insisted she be financially independent and Dayanita Singh, 55, one of the best photographers in contemporary India, chose the camera to do so. Her profession, she says, “became my passport into the world, it allowed me to travel where I liked, with whom ever I liked and most of all allowed me to get away from the societal norms expected of a woman in the early ’80s.” Singh, who went to the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and the International Center of Photography, New York, made her foray into photography by documenting tours by tabla maestro Zakir Hussain in the ’80s. Since then, she has published 12 books and broken new ground by experimenting with different forms of producing and viewing photographs. Singh’s distinction, photographer and curator Ram Rahman points out, has been in using the book medium in a far more conceptual mode than previously done in India, taking her into the art gallery and museum space. “By making books, I came to photography via books and now I make exhibitions of book objects. But it’s still evolving, I am still learning, pushing various limits, my own as well as my medium’s,” says Singh, whose works have been displayed in exhibitions globally, including at London’s Hayward Gallery and at the Venice Biennale.
“ I am still learning, pushing my own and my medium’s limits.
(This story appears in the 17 March, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)