A Struggle to Maintain Cultural Identity

 
Rahul created this diptych that juxtaposes the portrait of a Jewish lady along with the place she lives in. Photograph/Rahul S R

Rahul created this diptych that juxtaposes the portrait of a Jewish lady along with the place she lives in. Photograph/Rahul S R

“If I do not feel for what I am photographing, then I will never be able to get others to feel anything when they look at my photographs.”—Rahul S R

“If I do not feel for what I am photographing, then I will never be able to get others to feel anything when they look at my photographs.”—Rahul S R

Jews are a small community of barely 5000 in India, and are gradually diminishing in numbers. They struggle to maintain their cultural identity in an otherwise deeply divided Indian society. Some have joined the larger Indian communities, while some other chose to migrate to Israel that has one of the strongest Jewish communities in the world.
Rahul S R’s project titled Indian Jewish Identity offers a unique photographic tribute to these Indian Jews. The project is a series of ten diptychs—like the one below—that juxtapose the portraits of Jews in Cochin and Ahmedabad from various strata of the society along with their living space. For this project, the young photographer won the prestigious Tierney Fellowship—which is awarded to talented photographers to help them overcome the challenges that they face at the beginning of their career.
Rahul is currently pursuing his post graduation in photography from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. He believes that photography is not just looking, but feeling too. “If I as a human being do not feel what I am photographing, then I will never be able to get others to feel anything when they look at my photographs,” he adds.

-Written by Amit Sheokand

 

Tags: Indian Jewish Identity, Indian Jews, November 2009, Rahul S R, Tierney Fellowship