The Family That Poses Together

WHEN HE was 18, Sean Lee picked up the camera only to never put it down again. The 27-year-old photographer from Singapore has been making waves with the latest edition of his evolving series Homework, initiated in 2010, which is showing as part of the exhibition Postcards from the Interior at Exhibit 320, Delhi. Initiated by Singapore-based artist Nicholas Foo and curated by Delhi-based photographer Tanvi Mishra, the show brings together photographers from India and Singapore in an attempt to explore self and identity. Lee’s work fits right into the framework. In Homework, he turns the camera onto his family. “He can’t extricate himself from his work. It is as much about him as it is about his family, albeit in constructed fictional scenarios,” says Mishra. She emphasises the importance of touch in his images — his parents hugging, his mother sitting on top of his father — something so simple yet so alien to children growing up in Singapore, or for that matter South Asia. Photographer Prashant Panjiar, who also selected Lee’s work for 2011 Delhi Photo Festival, adds, “The root of affinity is family. It is yet another way of going into the self. Looking at family is looking at the self.” Lee has also shown at the New York Photo Festival, the Arles Photo Festival and the Angkor Photo Festival where he won the Special Jury Prize (2007).

The exhibition is on till 7 January. It also features Sumit Dayal, Ankit Goyal, Carrie Lam, Akshay Mahajan and Nguan
Aradhna Wal is a Sub Editor with Tehelka.