MFA in Image Text

Portfolio Addendum

Love Letters

The texts consist of love letters between my parents. These letters were written over a period of 6 months in 1969, shortly after their engagement and even into the first few months of their marriage, before they lived together. They each write with a sense of idealism, romance and fear. My mother hardly knew my father, but was about to leave her entire family back in India to live with this “stranger” in London. There are 68 letters in total.

Some are written in Hindi while others are written in English. 


Here is an example of a love letter on various media: the original -> cardstock -> vellum. I then show an example of a current photograph of my parents and place it behind the vellum.   

“See You at Home” has not involved much collaboration with my parents, but it was imperative for me to introduce their own voices into it. Now that my mother is gone, I’m at a crossroads on what to do with these texts. One idea is to work with my father and employ poetic devices, such as erasure, to modify these texts, in order to evoke a sense of memory and the reframing of one’s personal history over time.

An example of erasure, taken from the poet Mary Ruefle’s book “A Little White Shadow.”

Installation View for See You at Home

The installation from my solo exhibition for See You at Home at the Print Center in 2022 stemmed from a piece of early writing about my photograph Our Childhood Swimming Pool:

“My father had just finished raking the leaves out when I made this portrait of him in the childhood swimming pool. He still tends to it even though it’s no longer used. Here it lives in a continuous state of decay.

This pool is where he taught me how to swim when I was one and a half years old. This is the pool where so many home videos were made: him chasing me around the pool with the hose, eating lunch with aunties that were visiting from India, and from times even before I was born.

This is the state of the pool now, and has been for years. I made this portrait after not seeing him for 8 months. I try to visit as often as I can.”

... which led to a layout that employs these archival images & memories as "Satellite Images":

Clockwise from Bottom Left

    01. Indian families, visiting from far away, enjoy the pool
    02. Mom lounges in chair by pool
03. Indian aunties flip burgers, wearing saris
04. Mom & Dad sit in pool. Mom is wearing a shower cap
05. Dad lays in a raft in the pool, smiling

Home Videos

I then started to look at VHS home videos, including ones from around the pool, such as this:

Projection / Installation Views

I decided to integrate these satellite images and to project these home videos with “Our Childhood Swimming Pool.” The videos are lower, as to be viewed from the vantage point of a child.

The two videos are of different lengths, but were on loop. As a result of the videos restarting at different times, the audio of each video overlapped differently each time, thus creating a new tapestry of ambient sound as viewers walked around the rest of the exhibition. The neighboring walls contained only framed photographs, allowing this wall to speak louder. Please hover your mouse over the video to select *sound on*. 

Installation view from See You at Home
The Print Center, Philadelphia, 2022
Archival Pigment Print, Family Album Archive, VHS Home Video Projections 

Modern Country Doctor

This film (1 min) is a projection of children that my mother delivered, carouseled onto her hands, which are were arthritic after so many years of practicing as an OB-GYN. She delivered over 3000 children in our small town in Pennsylvania (pop.10,000).