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The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Personal Hygiene

Posted on April 21, 2008
Filed Under >Nadeem Omar, Photo of the Day, Society, Women
25 Comments
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Nadeem Omar

In this, the first in our series of photographs from the F.E. Chaudhry Collection, we want to feature this remarkable photograph taken on a Lahore street-side, probably in the 1950s.

Women hygine Lahore lice

A group of four young women unabashedly sitting in a row on a road side in Lahore, picking each other’s heads for lice and so very focussed on the task at hand that they are oblivious to the passersby. The children (probably their own) squatting around and hiding in their laps, captures an age old family ritual that is no longer to be seen, even in the private, lost forever to the glamorous new world of branded soaps and shampoos.



The photograph shows F. E. Choudhry’s penchant for novel sights. The public performance of personal hygiene was not an uncommon sight, even amongst the more affluent. But usually not so for picking lice. Although it was a common practice for women (sometimes men too!) to pick head lice for each other, especially in summer, when head lice breed in great number, it was usually done in the privacy of home. This is clearly an example of poverty forcing people to “live” in the public space and conduct what would otherwise be private acts, in public. This, as we shall later see, was a recurrent theme in F.E. Choudhry’s portfolio.

There is so much that is striking and worth thinking about in this photograph. Do tell us what caught your eye and attention.

Click here for the evolving F.E. Choudhry Gallery at ATP.

 

25 comments posted

Comment Pages: [4] 3 2 1 » Show All

  1. September 7th, 2009 11:07 am

    More comments from the ATP Facebook Page where this was recently reposted:

    - “truly amazing!”
    - “sisterhood?”
    - “great pic…this chain might have continued if the last woman had not covered her head…:) alas!!! :)”
    - “nice one…”
    - “nice”
    - “It’s really nice!”
    - “waqat kam aur mukhaballa sakath .. :-)”
    - “Its really a great picture.”
    - “A million Thanks to Allah for giving us Pakistan!”
    - “Do’nt 4get past and think for Future,,,,,,”

Comment Pages: [4] 3 2 1 » Show All



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