Often, the world seems to limit the concept of beauty to people and things that conveniently fit the stereotypical definition of the modern age. In parts of rural India, beauty is celebrated in various ways –– inclusive and joyous ways, and we barely even know about it.
In Koovagam village in Tamil Nadu, an annual Miss Koovagam event is held (held this year after a break of two years due to COVID), which is essentially a beauty pageant for members of the transgender community. Allowing the community to embrace themselves and feel as beautiful as ever, Koovagam around this time of year lights up with the smiles of transwomen.
Photographer Suriya Kathir gives us a wonderful insight into this celebration with his Group Portraits. The excitement, slight nervousness, and eagerness comes through oh-so-well in pictures emphasised by the black and white effect. The residents can be seen preparing for the pageant, as well as taking a few moments to themselves with their friends. What appeals to us the most is the genuine nature of their smiles –– all stemming from a reason to celebrate their beautiful selves.
This glimpse into Koovagam’s happiness is one to be applauded. It is not every day we acknowledge or work toward the little pockets of joy for minority communities, and this photoseries from this special event succeeded at doing just that.
Find Suriya Kathir here.
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