Fairer people = Beautiful People = Powerful people
A series of wet plate collodion photographs on glass
A group of young individuals with dark complexions had a discussion about the use of fairness creams and the obsession with white skin in Indian society. The group reflected on their own childhood experiences of feeling insecure about their dark skin and the disappointment they faced when using fairness creams. They discussed the prevalence of discrimination based on skin colour in India and how it originated from the country's colonial past. The group believed that fairer people are considered more beautiful and therefore more powerful in society.
During the conversation, the group was introduced to the wet plate collodion process, a photographic technique used during colonial India in the 19th century. They learned that the process did not capture red or yellow hues, resulting in Indians with redder or yellowish skin tones being represented as black in photographs. The group had the opportunity to be photographed using the wet plate collodion process, with some participants interested in using instant whitening powder or other substances to look fairer in the photograph. The photographer captured their images using a wooden plate camera, curious about how the participants wanted to be represented.