By default, the many depictions of contemporary Kashmir in photography rely on color, principally because of the visual habit of capturing life in our homeland in its many hues, tints and shades to accommodate anything that manifests within and beyond the visible spectrum. Nonetheless, an inversion has been forming over decades, first involuntarily because the medium was limited to black and white prints in newspapers and magazines in the earlier days, and second, with great intention to communicate moods, differing visualizations, an alternative mode of image-making and a subtle rawness that becomes pronounced with the contrasts that black and white can emphasize in its peculiar manner.

With that in mind, Inverse Journal invites photographers of all backgrounds to participate in a running series entitled “Kashmir: Paint the Day as Night” to present their black and white photography in a photo story format, with a maximum of 15 black and white photographs accompanied by descriptive captions contextualizing each photograph (maximum caption size should be one short paragraph or 100 words). The selected and published photo stories will be featured under the title “Kashmir: Paint the Day as Night [series number] – by [photographer name]” and will include an editorial introduction, with the photographer being credited as contributor on Inverse Journal’s platform.

Photography in black and white from a Kashmiri lens has a specific way of visually articulating that which (many times premeditatedly) escapes the colorful lens of the tourist. While black and white emphasizes contrast, the greatest contrast to be observed is Kashmir itself, as a collection of lush landscapes reflecting paradisiacal beauty and an idyllic scenery, and a peoples who have been to hell and back within that seemingly serene setting. In response, a tradition of black and white photography has emerged that unfolds the psychological and affective weight that Kashmiris carry within and that is projected through a particular gaze. The examples of such black and white photography are far too many and far too diverse in nature, but retain in common the weight of a subjective darkness that becomes manifest, usually in very subtle terms, through the absence of color in the photo. Such photographs are found circulating all through the internet, but mostly on social media, and in particular on Instagram. More precisely, one such series of photographs by a 12th grade school girl from Srinagar, communicate the basis from which this Call to Submissions finds its motivation.

The series is titled “Kashmir: Paint the Day as Night” because of the inversion that we see in certain black and white photography,  in that interplay between dark and light, day and night, and the symbolic value that the notions of day and night have for many Kashmiris, particularly the introspective and pensive ones. While a Kashmiri day might include accelerated mobility, violence, movement and action, the night is when a suspension within solitude takes over, where mourning happens, where demons rise, trauma unburies itself, dreams awaken, memories regenerate, a space for rest, healing and recovery opens up and imaginations run free. The series does not necessarily intend on shaping a wide variety of black and white photography through such a view or frame. Nonetheless, as previously mentioned, quite a few examples of such black and white photography by Kashmiris exist and are in circulation especially in the online medium. Our intention is to showcase it on Inverse Journal, to present image-making from Kashmiri photographers beyond the images coming from the distant and distracted touristic lens in its particular approach to image-making in Kashmir.  

For submissions:

  • All submissions must be made in Microsoft Word format, with each image embedded into your Word document, with relevant caption information and ordered as the photographer wishes them to be displayed.
  • All photos should be within 1000px by 1000px size limit, jpg, and file names should follow this format: lastname-night-as-day-photonumber.jpg, i.e. hameed-night-as-day-01.jpg
  • Email us with the subject: “Submission: Paint the Day as Night - [Your Name]” at inversejournal[at]gmail.com
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