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Photo Wallahs

Photo Wallahs - Image Produced by Judith MacDougall,David MacDougall.
60 min. Color. 1992.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: No
Catalog #: 0027
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Sale Price: $295.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

Renowned ethnographic filmmakers David and Judith MacDougall explore the many meanings of photography in this profound and penetrating documentary. The film focuses on the photographers of Mussoorie, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills of northern India whose fame has attracted tourists since the 19th century.

Through a rich mixture of scenes that includes the photographers at work, their clients, and both old and new photographs, this extraordinary film examines photography as art and as social artifact -- a medium of reality, fantasy, memory, and desire.

"Photo Wallahs" is perfect for introducing students to the complexity of social and anthropological observation, and it will generate valuable discussion in a variety of courses in Indian and Asian studies, cultural anthropology, and photography.


"There is now an interest in making films that do not simply deliver a statement about a topic but open it up in richer and more productive ways. These are films that develop complex networks of connections and relationships. In a sense they are meant as structures for generating meaning. That is certainly our intention in Photo Wallahs. We want it to be a resource for a range of observations, ideas, and possibilities." -- David MacDougall, interviewed in Visual Anthropology Review

"Exceptional... and remarkable. I found the film thought-provoking, particularly regarding the issues of universals in photography versus unique cultural presentations and representations." -- Joanna Cohan Scherer, Smithsonian Institution, in American Anthropologist


  • Royal Anthropological Institute Commendation
  • Society for Visual Anthropology Award
  • Bilan du Film Ethnographique (Paris) honoree
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival honoree
  • Berlin Film Festival honoree
  • Bombay Intl. Film Festival honoree



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