Fig. 1. Sample identity card photographs display at a Jaffna studio, 2018. Jaffna was the base for early local photographers such Swaminathar Kanagaratnam Lawton (1851-1919), and is locally claimed as the birthplace of photography not only in the island, but ‘the East’, following its introduction by American missionaries as early as the 1840s. Before the advent of mobile phones, where personal cameras remained a considerable luxury, the region’s studios documented, over the decades, both special occasions and citizenships. From birthdays and weddings to the state-necessitated National Identity Card (NIC) and passport headshots, these tattered repositories chart life cycles and life journeys. Photograph by Vindhya Buthpitiya; PHOTODEMOS: Citizens of Photography: the Camera and the Political Imagination

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