Who are you?
WXW: I’m just a guy from Milwaukee who somehow ended up living in India.
How do you use photography to interpret your experience as an American living in India?
In 2006 I rented a home in Udaipur in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan. There I built my first Indian photo studio. It was modeled on traditional Indian portrait studios, though the images I hoped to make would be much more funky. Working with a crew of local painters we produced our first linen backdrops. I switched back to a Nikon, and started to shoot digital. The resulting photographs were first printed digitally in black and white, and later were hand-coloured by Rajesh Soni. Finding Rajesh was just super lucky for me. He was very young when we started working together, which has been for ten years now. But he is the grandson of Prabhu Lal Verma, who was once the court photographer to the Maharana Bhupal Singh of Mewar. The skills of hand-colouring photographs had been passed down to Rajesh from his grandfather through the intermediary of his father Lalit. Rajesh is super talented, and we make a good team. There was something about this change in my artistic trajectory that caused a shift among the critical community toward a more positive view. Another thing that happened is that I began a series of semi-autobiographical paintings with an Indian miniaturist painter known as R. Vijay. The miniatures are self-reflective and often humorous. Indians started to love this work. The two bodies of work reflect on one another. It’s been rather a success story ever since.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.