“As a woman, I apologise for calling you stunning before strong, I called you beautiful before brave. The beauty of your eyes lie in the vision you hold. The strength of your faith creates life...You are unique not for the way you look, but for the way you challenge, influence, nurture and stand strong.”
The above quote is as stated byPooja Kocharfor her initiative PhotoblogHER which, through art, addresses the importance of a positive body image. “Women by nature empathise and grow stronger by supporting each other, we have to learn to love ourselves as much as we love others,” she says. In her visual narrative, titled Shakti, she showcases the bravery and strength of women in their daily lives. The project, on which she has worked for six months, is a collection of beautiful tales of women from all walks of life, each with their own struggles. “It has been very overwhelming for me as a photographer, every time a woman shared her vulnerability and fears, Shakti grew stronger,” she says.
Shakti is a work in progress, as Pooja will continue to capture the stories of women across the world as she believes that some emotions are universal and beyond barriers. "There’s no rational reason for me to explore such stories, but I feel very connected with women who need a voice." In an incredibly patriarchal society such as ours, women are treated as second class citizens whose work, contributions, accomplishments and struggles more often than not go unacknowledged and undermined. In eye-catching and powerful black and white photographs, the series documents the everyday battles of a women in India, however 'big' or 'small' they may seem in the eyes of larger society. In many situations, a woman's worst enemy is another woman, if not herself, and it's time to stop tearing ourselves and each other down, and to encourage this, Pooja's providing a platform for those who are told to speak only when they're spoken to, rendering Shakti a celebration of female strength, beauty and solidarity. Today, in honour of women everywhere, across all boundaries and barriers, we've posted below a selection of photographs from Shakti. All images and captions courtesy Pooja Kochar.