Nepal Picture Library is a growing digital photo archive run by Photo Circle in Kathmandu, Nepal. Over the years, the archive has grown a collection of over 120,000 photographs to include visual narratives of Nepali social and cultural histories. These collected images root their source to various public organisations as well as to photo frames, boxes and family albums in private homes across Nepal. The archive functions as a medium for active public engagement, for viewers to connect with the past and take away new readings for the future.
Archives have often been looked at as historic repositories. The material presented in these collections are usually read as defined references for new research based on what has already been derived. However, in understanding and acknowledging the subjectivity involved with creating an archive, the repository opens up. It becomes a key stimulant for writing new future histories through collateral analyses that make investigation into other public and personal narratives an inherent part of reading archives.
For ‘Future Readings of Projects and Archives’, Nepal Picture Library will share projects that have evolved from detailed research and interpretations of the archive, such as The Feminist Memory Project and Dalit – A Quest for Dignity. The image collection presented to the viewer is never constant. Over the course of the year at Future Landing, Nepal Picture Library will slip photographs and information in and out of the image panel, similar to books on a library shelf. One may or may not find what they are looking for. These projects, interspersed with chapters of personal collections from the archive present themselves alongside an interactive storyboard. The idea of the storyboard evolved from moving a viewing platform to an interactive one that promotes future imaginations of an archive. Each image carries its own narrative and history – not all of which is known. By allowing for an open subjective reading of these image collections, the viewers bring in their personal histories to chart new groupings for immediate futures.
The screenshots taken by viewers become their takeaways of visual recreations for their archives on memory chips, social media and mind folders. For Nepal Picture Library, these temporary storyboards become a new chapter in the archive with digital timestamps for future interpretations.
Nepal Picture Library (NPL) is a digital photo archive run by photo.circle that strives to create a broad and inclusive visual archive of Nepali social and cultural history. Since its inception, NPL has collected over 120,000 photographs from various private and organizational sources across Nepal. The archive serves as a safe and open repository for materials that can secure a multicultural and pluralist representation of Nepali history. It also functions as a medium for active public engagement through which Nepali people can deepen meaningful connections with the past. As part of its objective to create a visually dense version of Nepali history for and with public audiences, NPL has created a network of professionals with interest or specialized knowledge in museum design, preservation, curation, exhibition, graphic design, oral history, writing, education, ethnography, visual culture, media, art history, photography, and publishing.