By delving into visual studies in India, the research blog S.T.A.R.S. (Studies in Tamil studios ARchives and Society, 1880-1980) presents the research questions and main outcomes of an interdisciplinary project on the history of portrait photography in South India. The advent of photo studios at the end of the XIXth century has democratized and vernacularized this practice, until then the elites’ prerogative. The research blog S.T.A.R.S. is articulated around the presentation of the different steps leading to the creation of a photo portrait archive (from identification of photo studios to creation of a data base, passing by the digitization of the collections) and of the elaboration of a research aiming at studying portrait photography beyond the frame (and therefore all the social and historical processes that made the advent of such a practice possible), and within it (i.e. aesthetic and historic dimensions of the portrait).