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A photo-novel of Dayanita Singh’s earliest years as a photographer
A return to a time when Dayanita Singh (born 1961) did not yet consider herself a photographer, Let’s See is the probing remembrance of “an eye I no longer have access to.” Singh has recently poured through 40 years of her archive—80% of which remains unseen—exploring scans of her contact sheets and being amazed by the gentle and tender images from the 1980s and ’90s she had since forgotten—hostel roommates, friends with whom she lived, family, weddings, funerals; portraits of herself and those who would become important characters in her life: her mother, Nony Singh, the musician, Zakir Hussain, and Mona Ahmed, whom she depicted in the emotive visual biography Myself Mona Ahmed (2001).
Singh’s first camera, a Pentax ME Super with a 50 mm lens, was a gift from the German publisher Ernst Battenberg, and with it she “made photos of everything I could, trying to make a roll of film last as long as possible,” creating contact sheets of all her images, but realizing the rare luxury of an individual print only for a publication or a book project. “I call this book Let’s See,” says Singh, “because these images are about exactly that: how we see, what we don’t see, what only the camera sees….”