Hello Photo

HELLO PHOTO (55min., 1995) is a woman's journey into India filmed in the direct cinema tradition of anthropoligist Robert Gardner: sacred cows in the streets, tourists marveling at erotic sculptures, the surrealism of the Indian film industry, nostalgic rituals, and the omnipresence of a gaze looking back at the camera.

Photographer and filmmaker Nina Davenport spent one year traveling throughout India with her 16mm hand-crank movie camera. In one unforgettable image after another, she leads us through countless places and moments: a jute factory straight out of the industrial age, a rooftop kite festival, cows stuck in traffic jams, elephants blessing people. We're taken behind the scenes of a traveling circus to the sidelines of a polo match, inside the classrooms of a school for blind boys to a ceremony for an arranged marriage. We return now and then to the sets of Bombay's thriving film industry and to the streets where crowds of people stare back at the filmmaker. Hello Photo is not just a revelatory visual experience of India; it is also about the truths and deceptions inherent in making movies.

"Electrifying power... Davenport has an extraordinary eye for surreal juxtapositions, for understated epiphanies." - Boston Phoenix

--Jeff Silva [splice@MIT.EDU]

Nina Davenport Work