City of Photos

Framing Desire

  • Nishtha Jain
  • India
  • 2004
  • 59 min
  • Audience Favorites
In India, moving images are an essential part of people's lives. But still images are also of great importance for common folk. What are the secrets of Indian photo studios that still have a quite unique approach to capturing reality, or better put, to creating the desired illusion of reality? Most photographs are being retouched with small brushes and pens, eye wrinkles are repainted, chins made rounder and nicer, eyes brighter and lips bigger. Different backgrounds for studio portraits are created every day according to the frequent changes in everyday life. Even the image of the burning Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001 became a desired backdrop for studio photos. The horrifying hurricanes flooding the state of Orissa every year have also been painted as scenes that people like to become part of. Even the terrible tragedy of a train accident is a backdrop. What excites people being photographed in studios, posing on request with stomachs held in and big smiles? First, the film director takes us on a journey. To the past, where photography had a special place in the life of the upper classes, but also to the present, when photography becomes completely democratized, emphasizing how the history of photography has its continuity. Secrets of Indian photo craftsmanship are kept in the archives of the hundred-year-old Kolkata studio.


  • 59 min
  • color
  • video
  • Spoken languages: English, Hindi, Bengali
Nishtha Jain
Nishtha Jain for Raintree Films
Deepti Gupta
Nishtha Jain
Gautam Nag, Gissy Michael

IDFA history

Audience Favorites
Jan Vrijman Fund

Jan Vrijman Fund
Supported with €4000 for Classic: Development

Share this film

Print this page

IDFA history

This website uses cookies.

By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

 here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies