This book is a compendium of several exhibitions by the acclaimed photographer, Dayanita Singh. Presented in one volume like this, the pictures have narrative continuity, like a collection of short stories written around a single theme. Dayanita begins with autobiography. She turns her camera towards friends and family members, her own presence like an invisible filter that conditions her access to the interiors of private, elegant spaces. Her subjects look back at her with fondness, drawing her into the photograph by their expressions.
In ‘Myself Mona Ahmed’, the camera shifts away from the privacy of privilege to explore another level of access: that of friendship across class barriers. The subject is a middle-aged transsexual, telling her story in her own voice, through letters to Dayanita’s publisher. These photographs are as powerful and unforgettable as dispatches from a war zone. Though it’s very clear that Mona participated in the record made of her life, we are all transformed into voyeurs just by looking at images that we could otherwise never have seen.