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Documentary Photography Grant 2016


Nandita Raman


Nandita Raman was born in Varanasi (India) and works with a range of mediums including photography, video, text and sculpture. Her work has been exhibited most notably in Franz Josefs Kai3 (Vienna); Center for Documentary Studies (Duke University); and Columbia University. She has taught in CUNY and ICP (both New York), and is a graduate of the Bard College – the International Center of Photography, MFA program.

Project Title: Letters to Alice, Bill and Allen
Letters to Alice, Bill and Allen weaves together a material history of Benares (Varanasi today) through the interface of photographs, video and writings. It seeks to study symbolic sites, figures and objects germane to the historic city via journals, letters and works of three exemplary non-Indian practitioners in the 20th century—Alice Boner, Allen Ginsberg and William Gedney. Embedded in the city’s architecture and philosophy, interpretations and experiences by individuals who have made vital forays into and contributions to Benares.

Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery:
‘This body of works moves into more elegiac territory offering poetic images of people and places. I was intrigued by the artist’s proposed use of diaries to travel back in time to see Banaras through the eyes of three 20th century literary figures – a new way of exploring history.’

Patrick Sutherland, Professor of Documentary Photography, University of the Arts, London:
‘… the project [is] original in its scope, open ended and exploratory in its approach and with significant potential for development. Nandita’s intriguing images offer substantial space for the imagination of the viewer.’


Iwona Blazwick

Iwona Blazwick

Director, Whitechapel Gallery, London.


Patrick Sutherland

Professor of Documentary Photography, University of the Arts, London.