photographic index

ba digital photography london south bank university

Ruby Phagurah


Title: …
Artist: Rupinder Phagurah
Type: Inkjet photographic print
Date: 2007
Description: …, London. Completed May 2007. Made in response to Anita Corbin’s photographic series ‘Visible Girls’, Girls Subcultures box held at the London South Bank University, London. A series of 4 images.
Subject: …, subcultures
Measurements: …x…
Location: London South Bank University Digital Photography Dept
ID Number: PI-RGSB-RP0001-RP004
Licensing: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales, Ruby Phagurah c/o London South Bank University, Digital Photography Course, UK

The project brief given was to reinterpret the box GS by Anita Corbin and produce three to seven portrait photographs that were set in the context of contemporary youth culture. I focused on the role of ethnic identity as strategies of negotiation between the traditional and the contemporary cultures. Furthermore my photograph can also link within the aspect of the relationship between youth culture and popular commodities.

Youth culture is everywhere and there is so much that can be photographed about youth. I came up with many ideas as to how to capture what youth culture means personally to me as the photographer. As research I went out and approached many young girls and boys and asked them what music they listened to and what hobbies they had and what they plan to do in the future. I did this to get a sense of youth culture all around and not just the youth group I associate with. By doing this I discovered that from many main youth groups smaller groups were forming with a fresh and unique style. I met a group of friends mostly girls who were dressed quite normal, fashionable however they listened to Goth, heavy metal music and enjoyed skate-boarding. Also I met some skateboarder’s, who liked garage and rap music, I discovered that there was a hybrid of genres, and that youth culture is like a tree with many branches.

After much brain mapping my first idea was to photograph Goths. However I thought that the idea was not original and had been done as a youth culture. So then I decided not to photographs people at all and instead photograph manikins dressed in a particular fashion that appeals to some of the youth today so that I can associate my photographs with popular commodities. However I finally decided that I need to have people in the photographs to actually portray their youth culture. I decided to focus on Bollywood and how the youth reacts to it. Bollywood is India’s equivalent of Hollywood. It is basically the Indian film industry. I was inspired to focus my girl’s subculture portraits on Bollywood because of a television advertisement for a Bollywood movie on an English television channel. It was evident that the film had been made with many western influences, such as the music however the costumes and dialogue was very traditional. Before taking my photographs I decided once again to see how the youth were being affected by Bollywood or how the youth had taken to Bollywood. It was evident after talking to many random people Bollywood is known, and is having much effect on society and the world. For example a song by Kelly Rowland releasing this month has bollywood Bhangra beats. Also many of the clothing around Oxford Street have influences of Bollywood such as the cuts, colours and patterns. Bollywood has also crossed over into Hollywood. Many Bollywood films have been entered into the Oscars. Furthermore former miss world and now actress Ashwariya Rai is a great example of how Bollywood is crossing over into Hollywood and how she has become an icon and many young women look up to her.

In areas that are more populated with young Asians it was clear that Bollywood had a big influence on their lives especially the girls. Bollywood was evident in the way they dressed and how they carried themselves. What was more evident was the traditional, old style bollywood was back in fashion as an older women pointed out to me. So when taking my photographs I wanted to capture bollywood through a young woman portraying the traditional and modern Bollywood. Fortunately I was able to do so with my model, she knew much about Bollywood but was very western all the same.

Anita Corbin’s box GS, are a series of photographs of young women, representing youth culture from the 1980’s. The photographs are of young women in different backgrounds and situations.
To the right is one of the first photographs I took. What I like about the image is that the model is not looking directly into the camera and this gives the photograph a sense of innocence. Also the fact that the model has a veil and is facing down shows she is modest but her face can still be seen shows that she is not shy about showing who she is behind the veil and this really goes with the theme I was trying to portray of Bollywood and how it is evident in girls youth culture now. However what is evident is that unlike Corbin’s photographs my photograph does not show the background or the situations, although the models pose can be seen as situation in itself.

I chose to include the photograph to the left as the model looks very traditional posing in a traditional Indian dance move. She is confident and being very natural. The photograph like the above can be seen as the model again is being modest as she is not looking at the camera and is looking down. However that just could be the concentration of her dance. Unlike the photograph above there is no background just a cream curtain. Perhaps a background would have enhanced the photograph and given more of an insight to youth culture of Bollywood. However a background may not have worked and made the photograph look messy and rushed. For my photographs I used the same model in all of my photographs, unlike Corbin who uses many different girls in her photographs. I however stayed with the same model and instead changed her poses and backgrounds to achieve my photograph of Bollywood as s Subculture effecting he youth especially girls.
This photograph was the most fun and the most difficult to shoot. The model hurt herself on many jumps of the 2ft wall, she jumped very high to make it seem she was jumping from a higher place from the roof and is falling. With this photograph we wanted to create a story. The story went with a Bollywood movie theme, the girl unable to be with her lover so she jumps to her death and she is modern but bound by tradition. Tradition is shown by the clothing and her modernism is shown through shoes and her bare stomach. The model and I went a little over board with the story but it was fun at the time and with out the story I feel the image is strong. It shows a young woman just being herself jumping off a wall outside her house.

This is a brilliant image; it is as if she is advertising her sneakers. The contrast is clear in this photograph of tradition of Bollywood and the Western influences. The model has a very youthful pose, almost blaze. What I like about this photograph and the one above is that the background can be seen. It shows that she is just a normal girl from an urban city and has dreams of becoming perhaps a Bollywood star or something. The background is of a working class house. The photographs where taken at night which added to the affect of the photograph above, however perhaps in day light they may have had different connotations. I feel this photograph links best with Corbin photographs of visible girl’s subculture as the model is at her most natural as are the models in Corbin’s photographs.

For extra research I looked at photographs by Jayesh Sheth. He is an Indian photographer and often photographs Bollywood actresses. To the right is a photograph I was inspired by. It is of actress Rekha. Sheth has captured her in all her glory. She is wearing traditional clothing and is proud of it. The background enhances the photograph. I tried to capture the same sense of being proud and loving Bollywood in my photographs.

In conclusion after much brain mapping and research I followed the theme of Bollywood in girl’s subculture. My photographs relate to traditional Bollywood with western influences such the sneakers and the working class house in the background. My photographs relate to Corbin’s work but however have some major differences such as not having a background in two of my images and the fact I have focused on just one particular girl than many as Corbin had done.

2 Responses

  1. Iwona Antoniak says:

    This is brilliant series of pictures.I like mixture of cultures showed in those images,two different worlds coexisting together.Bollywood/indian dress with iconic western trainers very much resembles modern Britain.I like contrast between beautiful and colorful dress that girl is wearing ,on dark,brick wall of typical british house.First picture is rather serious and girl is looking almost like princess,but nex pictures showing that she is an ordinary girl dressed beutifuly.Last two pictures where she is jumping and smiling gives whole series very positive and uplifting atmosphere.Looking at these photos I’ve felt happy and alive.

  2. fnagri says:

    Top Fashion Related Blog

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