by Dayanita Singh
Finalist, 2012 New England Book Show (Pictorial)
House of Love is a work of photo fiction by Dayanita Singh. Working closely with the writer, Aveek Sen, whose prose follows a journey of its own, Singh explores the relationships among photography, memory, and writing. House of Love, designed to blur the lines between an art book of photographic images and a work of literary fiction, is a book whose images demand to be read, not just seen, and whose texts create their own sensory worlds. The combination creates a new vocabulary for the visual book.
The “House of Love” itself is the Taj Mahal, but the Taj Mahal is a recurring motif that stands for a range of meanings — meanings made up of the truths and lies of night and day, love and illusion, attachment and detachment. Through images of cities both visible and invisible, of people real and surreal, Singh creates her own mysterious and ineffable, strange yet familiar language, using her trademark black-and-white photography and her newer nocturnal color work.
Dayanita Singh was born in New Delhi in 1961. She studied at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and later concentrated on photojournalism and documentary photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. Her photos have been exhibited many times, most recently at the Venice Biennale 2011. Singh’s books include, Myself Mona Ahmed, Privacy, Go Away Closer, Sent a Letter, Blue book, Dream Villa and Dayanita Singh. She lives in New Delhi.
Aveek Sen is a senior assistant editor (editorial pages) of The Telegraph, Calcutta, where he has written extensively on photography. He was a Rhodes Scholar at University College, Oxford, where he studied English literature, before going on to teach English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. He is the winner of the 2009 International Center for Photography Infinity Award for Writing on Photography.