Frankly speaking I have mixed feelings about performing my project. So, I’m thinking a lot and retyping the introduction again and again. My husband and I are on Sri Lanka now, where this story has started. We have already visited a lot of places related to the project and I’m going to tell you about them later. So far I doubt if I could publish the project, though.
While everything was being created, I interpreted the life of the Rusts family and I was quite distant from them. During the two years I’ve been imagining how the Rusts used to live here.
I have visited their estates and talked to people who were acquainted with them. Now I’m asking myself whether I have a moral right to work with the personal photo archive of the family, whom I can’t asked a permission, because all of them are dead by now. I have also found an answer to the question, which I have been demanding myself for a long time. Why have I been doing this project, keeping the research of the information and creating the site yet? The head of this family Thomas and his son Julian Rust were professional British photographers. They had a great impact on developing of Photography in northern India in the second part of 19th century. Thus, as a professional photographer who’s been working with this media for 15 years I can appreciate the value of the photos taken by the Rusts. I also want the audience to see their beautiful life, skilfully presented in the pictures. The Rusts made a great number of photos that were published on postcards and in books, went down in history and nowdays are displayed in museums and sold on auctions. However, the most important part for me is in my personal collection. I’d like to prolong the life of the photo archive, produced by the professional photographers since 1870.
"Through photographs, each family constructs a portrait-chronicle of itself—a portable kit of images that bears witness to its connectedness. It hardly matters what activities are photographed so long as photographs get taken and are cherished." (Susan Sontag. On Photography)
I cherish the photographs of the Rusts family and respect their history. In future I would like to meet with the relatives of the Rusts in Scotland and hand off these photos in their family archive. I can’t be sure, if Helene (the last member of the Rusts) wanted this, but I know that it is valuable to Frances, who has learnt the history of her family for 30 years. She has never seen this part of the Rusts family before, even in the pictures.
Today is 11th anniversary of Helene’s death. We have visited her grave in Kandy.