A Photo Essay
This visual essay explores the daily life and rhythms of a photography studio in Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka. Here, I reflect on the enduring entanglements of war and everyday image-making practices in the postwar period. The accompanying visuals cast the studio space as one of stillness and movement, where photography exists as an act of communal production and aspiration in a setting marked by political unrest and inequity. Even as advancements in technology and digital photography have further allowed the studio to be integrated into the surveillance, security, and documentation regimes of the state and state-like actors, the work of studio photographers positions them as the determined arbiters of their clients’ anticipated futures. The day-to-day routines of studios reflected the lingering effects of war on aspirations for citizenship. When taken together with the possibilities for mobility that are afforded by the Tamil community’s displacement and dispersal, as caused by conflict, the role of photography in realizing these hopes becomes apparent.
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