AAM AASTHA : Indian Devotions
Charles Fréger, Contributions by Anuradha Roy, Catherine Clément, Kuhu Kopariha, Illustrated by Sumedha Sah
A festival of Indian folk rituals and costumes bursting with colour, captured by renowned photographer Charles Fréger, the creator of a distinctive and powerful new genre of portrait photography.
Internationally renowned photographer Charles Fréger continues to explore global traditions and cultures, by celebrating the powerful visual aspects of Indian folk culture and religious ritual. India is the home to a myriad of local traditions, legends and religions, each with their own festivals, rites and rituals. Celebrations burst with vivid colours and often wildly exuberant costumes, some representing gods and goddesses, others legendary heroes from Sanskrit epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
In Charles Fréger’s photographs, those who honour local cultural traditions are represented in single or group portraits, represented against carefully chosen landscapes and backdrops, from the heart of festivals and celebrations. Fréger’s unmistakable style of portraiture allows us to admire the complexity of their adornments – masks and headdresses, costumes and body paint – and to consider the abundance of imagination that expresses India’s countless stories and characters, both human and divine.
This spectacular gathering of warrior figures, deities, musicians, tigers, mahouts, epic characters and their avatars is accompanied by texts setting the huge variety of eclectic costumes in context, and describing the local festivals and rituals. This compelling sequence of new portraits will enthral those with an interest in folk traditions, as well as the followers of this internationally acclaimed photographer.
Charles Fréger is a photographer based in Rouen, France. Internationally acclaimed for his subtle and poetic portraiture, he has devoted himself to the representation of social groups. Previous books include Portraits in Lace: Breton Women (2015), Yokainoshima: Island of Monsters (2016) and Cimarron: Freedom and Masquerade (2019), all published by Thames & Hudson. Anuradha Roy is a novelist and journalist living in northeast India. Catherine Clément is a philosopher, critic and feminist.