Nalla Pillai Studio is the longest running studio identified so far in the S.T.A.R.S project. As with the vast majority of photo studios in Tamil Nadu, the business has been handed over from father to son since the opening of the studio. Nalla Pillai Studio opened its doors in the dusty temple city of Kumbakonam 1878 and his still be run by the great-grandsons of the founder.
The remains of Nalla Pillai studio’s 140 years of photographic production are a collection damaged glass-plates which were found poorly stored in a torn cardboard box full of grit and dust. These glass-plates yield a testimony of Kumbakonam’s vibrant religious activities and the numerous sadhus who would flock here for the yearly temple festivals as well as the famous Mahamam festival, where all sins are washed away following a ritual bathing which occurs every 12 years.
Nalla Pillai Studio is now a forlorn digital photo studio at the back of an alley where the few customers who drop by required the cheapest rate for instant passport photos.
S.T.A.R.S. digitized 152 glass-plates, 32 prints and 7 celluloid negatives from Nalla Pillai Studio.