A Suitable Girl

Mum's friend. Khammam, Andhra Pradesh. 1960s.

Vintage Photo

This picture was probably part of a portfolio, targeted at prospective grooms for an arranged wedding, to be distributed physically via the social media of the day - friends and family. Over the decades the medium of distribution may have changed, but the routines haven't. Even today millions of Indian women - and men - will have their portfolios created, targeted at prospective partners, now to be distributed electronically.

But beyond all that, this is also an exceptionally well crafted picture. Keep in mind this is from a time when there's no Photoshop. Instead the photographer works with what he has at hand: the subject, his camera, light and shade. I wish we knew who the photographer was - I'm reminded of V K Murthy's genius in movies like Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool; I wonder if those movies were referenced.

Aunty's confident pose, the play of light and shade, and you have a work of art announcing a suitable girl, seeking a suitable boy.