Projecting Empowerment: Camera Politics in and beyond Twentieth-Century South Asia
A Photo Essay
This essay reflects on the ongoing mobilization of the camera as a tool for empowerment in the Global South by revisiting the controversy around Born into Brothels (2004) and its American director’s efforts to teach photography to the children of sex workers in Kolkata. The aesthetic production being demanded and, just as importantly, side-lined by the award-winning film was thrown into relief by the counter-production We are Foot Soldiers (2011), whose irreverent and sceptical energy remains instructive.
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