Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Luke Duggleby: The Art of Kathakali

Photo © Luke Duggleby-All Rights Reserved
Luke Duggleby is a British photographer with a degree in photography from the University of Gloucestershire. Currently based in Bangkok, he's shooting assignments and personal projects from India to Indonesia, China to Cambodia for various publications and NGOs.

His photography has been featured in The Sunday Times Magazine (UK) , The Independent on Sunday Review, Stern, Monocle Magazine, TIME, The Telegraph, GEO France, GEO Germany, The New York Times, The Times (UK), Geographical (UK), The Wall Street Journal Asia, and the USAID, amongst others.

Out of his many galleries, I chose two that I particularly admired; The Art of Kathakali, and The Last of the Bound Feet Women.

Kathakali is one of the oldest theater forms in the world, and originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. It's the classical dance-drama of Kerala and is rooted in Hindu mythology and literally means "Story-Play". In my forthcoming 2012 photo-expedition to Kerala, I am planning an exhaustive photo shoot at a Kathakali school (as I did in 2009).

As for the Bound Feet Women, NPR featured an article on this practice and its history here, where it tells us that millions of Chinese women bound their feet to turn them into the prized "three-inch golden lotuses." Footbinding was first banned in 1912, but some continued binding their feet in secret. Some of the last survivors of this barbaric practice are still living in Liuyicun, a village in Southern China's Yunnan province.