Every photographer has a distinct visual grammar and aesthetic that distinguishes them. For some photographers on the Indian scene today, photography has become a way of self-expression as well as a means of making a larger social commentary. For many others, it is a way of playing around with the lens; finding narratives and avenues to tell the stories of their respective cultures and experiences.
At Homegrown, we love the diverse and democratic nature of photography that has emerged in the past few years and that’s why we’ve curated a collection of photoseries that caught our attention this week.
Aligarh-based conceptual and fine-art photographer feels that art is the great medium that can show our emotions and vulnerability to the world and heal us as well. His latest photoseries is titled ‘Pink Lilies From Her Garden’ which is an allegory for life.
‘Pink lilies are the symbol of love and admiration,’ says Faras. ‘They’re also known as “surprise lilies” due to the fact that they unexpectedly sprout their pink trumpet-like flowers in a surprise showing during the late summer and early fall months, just like our lives which are full of surprises. We should enjoy each and every bit of it. No matter what life gives us, we should always bloom like lilies’.
Checkout Ahmad Faras’ work here.
Hailing from the state of Sikkim, freelance illustrator, photographer and filmmaker Pagel Lepcha is interested in abstract art, portraits and landscape photography. Their unnamed photoseries tells the tale of two flowers close to the Nepalese community.
“Makhmali (Amarnath Globe) and Sayapatri (Marigold) are the two primary flowers used by the Nepalese community to be used and worshipped during Tihar (Diwali),” says Lepcha. “This photo series tells of a narrative wherein both are personified by their colours. Makhmali (lilac) and Sayapatri (yellow) are siblings who get to meet only once a year, plucking delicate chords in their hearts” adds Lepcha.
Checkout Pagel Lepcha’s work here.
Bombay-based photographer Rose Tommy’s photoseries, ‘Fe’men’ine’, takes the idea of masculinity that is prevalent in pop culture and tries to examine it with a different gaze. “The idea behind the concept is that masculinity is everywhere we look, be it in the media, in our favourite movies or in our homes. This is the kind of masculinity that makes it toxic for a man to express himself and that makes it unacceptable to shed a tear or to hint at any semblance of weakness. It’s the kind of masculinity that set a standard so unkind, that it has made us forget that we were beyond gender, or names, or boundaries. It has also made us forget that beyond everything, we are human. The realisation that we need not be fettered by hard drawn boundaries set for each gender, was liberating” says Rose.
“Growing up in Southern India, it was a simple life compared to the continuous buzz of the city,” says Rose. “Be it the bustling city or the serene village; gender norms and the unwritten laws that come with it always prevailed As time passes and years fly by, you slowly begin to realise the many things you need to unlearn and how the boundaries that once restricted you, become the ones that need to be crossed.”
“We found our language of expression in fashion and decided to capture it in a space where I grew up, that symbolised so much more and that once unknowingly taught me boundaries, like almost every single home in society.” says Sherin who did the styling for the photoseries.
When we interviewed Silchar-based filmmaker Sourav Das earlier this year for the musical mood film Kaala he had remarked, ‘My biggest inspiration for my artistic venture has always been my unconscious stimuli towards life around me. I have been keenly observing everything around me. Whether it be my culture or people around me – everything inspires me.’
It is this lens that guides his latest photoseries, ‘Gay Gods’, he remembers going to the annual Dance of Gods festival in his city every year with his father. The photo series is based on a group of men, children and trans men, mostly from the lower rungs of society, that gather around the month of Chaitra (of the Bengali calendar) for a dance that celebrates the marriage of Shiva and Durga.
Fascinated by the ritual and the act of intense devotion that surrounds the festival, he started taking pictures on his film camera which then transformed into this photoseries.
Mumbai-based photographer and the co-founder of ‘The House Of Pixels’ Vaishnav Praveen feels, ‘To me, a still photo speaks volumes and leaves something to the imagination, and it is my job to inspire the viewer to imagine.’
Their latest photoseries is evocative and instantly captures your imagination but was an unplanned & organic photoseries that, as Vaishnav puts it ‘...was simply an exercise where we wanted to test ourselves with what we could create without prep or mood boards. The team came together in one day and each of us brought elements that we put together on the spot.’
‘It was completely organic and unplanned,’ says Sohiny Das who styled the concept shoot.
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