Swasti Acharya presents a series of photographs that she produced seven years ago, in June of 2013. The series “Before the Lockdown” retrieves, as photographs often do, what is set to be lost or displaced in one way or another (as memory or as something else). In such images, the eternity of a time past reverberates in visuals of everyday life, beyond the limits of enforced change and beyond a controlled liminality that has continuously besieged Kashmir, as if it were some sort of a “liminal space” made such for its own inhabitants (if one is to be reminded of the martial reality that exists beyond such innocent and unassuming visual framing). In more ways than one, Acharya’s visuals of Kashmir elucidate how photography is an art where “capturing” and “retrieving” can be harmonious and not disruptive as far as image-making is concerned, and that too through the unfamiliar lens of an unaccustomed outsider who goes back in time to recover visuals of something that tomorrow might not remain the same or might altogether have been forcefully transformed into something else. This series is published with a note by the young photographer along with relevant captions that go beyond any editorial framing and interpretations presented in this editorial introduction.
Before the Lockdown — by Swasti Acharya