Research Feature > The Indian Memory Project


History is reconstructed by what is left behind – the notes, drawings, pictures and artifacts that tell the tale of a time gone by. The objects by themselves are like museum pieces that provoke interest but it’s only when the stories behind their being are shared that they turn magical. Through the Indian Memory Project, Anusha Yadav attempts to trace the history of Indian settlements and cities through pictures found in personal family albums and archives.

Anusha is partial to history, pictoral history in particular, and was brought up in Jaipur where she says most family albums looked like royal portraits. A photographer by profession, she terms her work as Urban Documentary. And also plans to start a family/corporate picture archiving service which archives all information digitally for future generations. She shares a few pictures from The Indian Memory Project.

Anusha says “I basically write to people, friends, asking people to send photos and I call them for stories and information about the people in it – like an oral history passed through generations.”

Anusha says “Personal archives are more interesting than hired professional portraits (archives of Lala Deen Dayal) because there is more information that can be found about the family, where they are, where did they come from”

Anusha says “Over the years you will notice subtle changes like how women began to pose for photos or even men. The comfort levels between a couple or not. It’s of anthropological value.”

Anusha says “Unlike the private archives (like Alkazi) that are sadly not wholly accessible online, I’d like to collect it as an archive for people to see.”

I am intrigued by this project and it would be great to see pictures from all over India of a time that is slowly slipping out of everyone’s memory. Mine is possibly the last generation that saw life with and without a TV. As Anusha says, the energy of the project depends on the quality and the quanity of the contributions. She’s working on a new integrated website design for The Indian Memory Project that will come into effect once she has over 300 pictures and stories. For now, the few that are online are interesting and the stories make you smile. Perhaps, as the website reveals the life of others, we might feel compelled to delve into our personal archives and look at the seemingly everyday pictures of our families with a more appreciative eye – as history recorded for the future world.

<The Indian Memory Project website. To contribute your pictures to the project mail Anusha on indianmemoryproject(at)gmail(dot)com. All pictures featured here are posted with permission from Anusha Yadav. You could also see Anusha’s photography work on her site.>

Via bpb.


9 Responses to “Research Feature > The Indian Memory Project”

  1. 1 Lalita Uttamsingh

    Such a great idea! And what a novel way to understand history, culture and lifestyle. Looking forward to hunting through my huge old photograph collection and archiving it through this site. It’ll be absolutely wonderful to see all the other grand old photos of people — friends and family– all over. Whats equally exciting is you never know who all you might recognize through these uploads!!
    Thanks for this wonderful drive!

  2. 2 mathatheist

    Malavika, I have forwarded your mail to Anusha.

    Patricia, Sharon, et, Sudha, Sakala, Alek – Thank you all. 🙂

  3. As a photographer and a photography collector, I just love projects like this! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I just stumbled on your blog and love what I’m seeing. I’m really looking forward to browsing your archives. 🙂

  4. 4 Malavika

    This is a fantastic approach towards the preservation of the life stories of people for the generations to come.
    I am a designer and currently based in Dundee, Scotland and got to your blog via a friends recomendation.
    I am currently working on a similar project related to the archiving of people’s stories. and yes, I do agree with you when you say that the stories make hitory ‘magical’.

    Would it be possible for us to correspond via email? As I am keen to know how you process, archive and then replay this information.

    Great job once again!

  5. I love the idea, I have pics of my Dad as a little kid in Coorg, what a lovely idea guys. Thanks…

  6. 6 Sudha

    I have photographs of my grandparents when they were in Karachi. They look so different – my grandmother incongruous in a nine-yard sari and my grandfather dressed like a sahib – from what I remember them as. 🙂

    Been following your blog for some time now. I really like your posts on such a wide variety of design features. See you around.

  7. 7 et

    Just found your blog. It gives a wonderful ‘feel’ of art. Nice collections. I was like wandering through a lot of posts here before i came back to tel this 🙂
    See u around!

  8. A novel, but much needed project. I love old photographs, and they speak volumes about our ancestors. Possibly our only link to getting to know them better!

  9. This is simply amazing.. I’ve never looked at photographs with so much detail.. And all the thoughts are soooo true!!

%d bloggers like this: