An introduction to myself and the beautiful people project
I was born in the midlands city of Coventry in the United Kingdom in August 1968. After a fairly unremarkable school life and after failing at most of my exams, apart from art, I began my career as a trainee photographer on my local newspaper, the year was 1987. As was industry standard in those days my newspaper the Coventry Evening Telegraph sent me to college in Yorkshire to the city of Sheffield where I qualified as a photo-journalist. I then worked as a freelance photographer from 1992 until 2002 working for most of the national media outlets (the good and the bad) in the United Kingdom. In September 2002 I went travelling for six months trying to re-connect with the places and the past that one half of my family had always told me about; India. I continued travelling, making portraits of the people I encountered along the way, exploring India until the summer of 2009.
I would like to introduce you to my portraits from India and explain to you some of the numerous reasons why I made this archive. I would also like to introduce you to my grandpa’s photographic collection. My grandpa was a photographer for The Times of India newspaper working from their offices in Bombay in the 1930’s and he was the inspiration for me making my own collection of images in India.
I will also attempt to document the historical facts and some myths about my family’s relationship with Colonial India and try to explain why myself and my family still has a deep bond with this fascinating country, a country we have blood ties with.
My family is Anglo-Indian. The ‘Anglo’s are descended from the employees, mainly men, who worked for the East India company. These officers and officials made a new home for themselves in India, some never wanting to return home to Britain, they chose to stay in India and many of them married Indian women. The mixed race children from these marriages soon developed a hybrid British/Indian identity all of their own. Their distinct culture lasted in India for over two century’s when soon after partition in 1947 they began to disperse themselves around the globe. The Anglo Indians were part of the ethnic fabric of colonial India and were refered to in the days of Empire as, India’s new caste. Their story has almost been forgotten.
I will, over the caurse of time be adding images, thoughts and stories from my growing archive of photographs.
Jason Scott Tilley