Following the Box

01 March 2016
COURTESY ALAN TELLER AND JERRI ZRIBAL

22 JANUARY

INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE ARTS

Following the Box, a 30-minute film, traces the efforts of an American couple, Alan Teller and Jerri Zbiral, to make sense of a box of photographs that they found in an estate sale in Chicago 25 years ago. Neatly captioned and labelled with dates, all the photographs were taken in rural Bengal, around the Second World War. But while the images provided intimate views of villagers, rural vistas, temples and synagogues, they lacked any clear clues as to who took them. Teller and Zbiral followed the box to Bengal, where they tried to uncover the photographer’s identity. Who was this person, and what was her or his artistic intention, if any? How did the photographs get to Chicago? Through research and a series of deductions, the couple surmised that the photographer was likely a low-ranking soldier from the US Army, posted at a base in Kharagpur during the Second World War. As they chased the mystery of the shutterbug, Teller and Zbiral also considered their own role in this project.

COURTESY THE COLLECTED IMAGE
COURTESY ALAN TELLER AND JERRI ZRIBAL
COMMENT