Trans Asia Photography Journal: call for papers “Orphaned Images: Found or Inherited”

Trans Asia Photography Journal

Call for Papers “Orphaned Images: Found or Inherited”, guest edited by Sabeena Gadihoke

This call focuses on the image whose origins are uncertain and history unknown. Photographs have usually been linked to the idea of the evidentiary. Even as the digital turn opens up possibilities of endless transmutation of the image, the `photograph’ still retains its evidentiary status in official documents or in the everyday practice of `making memories.’ The idea of photographic evidence grounds the subject, whatever it may be, to a world that exists and can be known. But how do we understand the photograph that has floated away from its context and come unmoored from its history? Or a photograph that carries traces of partial or incomplete histories or has tenuous links to original circumstances of production and circulation. How have `finders’, ‘discoverers’ or inheritors of such images, engaged with them? How does the orphaned and found image tell its story?

The issue will explore the stories that have been mapped onto photographs of unknown provenance or ones for which only partial information is available thereby confronting the reader with challenges. It explores the possibilities that such an image can take its reader, precisely because it has been liberated from its own history, on an uncharted imagined journey. It is perhaps possible that an orphaned image, either found or inherited, has the potential to turn us into detectives, story-tellers, poets or visionaries.

We seek to engage with the many journeys that an orphaned image may have inspired. While it may have led someone to study clues and traces to try and place it in a certain context, it may have inspired another to use speculation as a productive and interpretative framework to pose new questions. Such an exercise may address absences and gaps or draw on partial memory, half-remembered secrets, rumour, gossip, hearsay and anecdote. Or a reader may choose to draw upon fiction, fabrication and fantasy to address the gaps and absences in the orphaned image.

We invite submissions that are scholarly but also encourage our contributors, if they so wish, to use creative modes of writing to express their relationship to the orphaned image. The following could be possible (but not limited to) areas of focus emerging out of Asia and its Diaspora:

  • – Orphaned, Anonymous, Stand-Alone, Lost and Found
  • – Images
  • – Imagined and Fictive Narratives
  • – Amateurism and Marginalized Voices
  • – Political, Social and Cultural Agency
  • – Silence/Absence in the Archives
  • – Missing or Suppressed Histories
  • – Circuits of Circulation: Networks, Clubs, Organizations
  • – Analogue and Digital Images on the Internet

Sabeena Gadihoke is Professor at the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. She is also a Photo Historian and Curator.

Key dates

The deadline for submission of completed drafts of research articles (5000-7000 words) or short papers (1000-2000 words) is November 30, 2023.

For information on submission requirements please go to the direct link.

Research articles will undergo a double-blind peer review process.

Please direct all inquiries to:

Accepted articles will be published in TAP’s May 2025 issue (15:1).