The art of taking a picture goes beyond the lens as it becomes a vessel of storytelling, expression and reflection of the artist’s perspective. From portraits to photo exhibitions, the female form has long been a central muse that photographers tend to grapple with. Stepping aside from the fetishism of the male gaze, there’s a new wave of Indian photographers attempting to examine the feminine form from a creative point of view through their work. Here we recognize three photographers who champion women as creative subjects in their work.
I. Lekha Rathnam
Lekha Ratnam is a Bangalore based fashion and portrait photographer documenting her eclectic group of friends and muses through an editorial lens. Her work tackles issues of identity, and self-expression; all the while incorporating avant-garde styling and a fashionable verve that allows the audience to engage in the most radical experiments with her.
II. Shaheen Peer
Bold, unabashedly proud and vibrant, Shaheen Peer’s work steps back from a commercialized overview to display things through a more profound lens; including portraits of women’s bodies irrespective of shapes, size, and colour. Exploring many facets of the female form, Shaheen loves infusing colour and playful geometry in her narrative-led photographs. Although her artistic gaze is strong and positive, it refrains from appropriation and fetishization and instead draws the viewer closer. Her latest self-portrait photoseries spotlights strong female characters; staging their narratives against India’s cultural landscape through masterful styling and photography.
III. Siddhant Vaidya
Mumbai-based nude photographer, Siddhant uses his artistic lens to showcase human beings in their natural form, free from all the negative notions attached to nudity.
Vaidya who has been photographing nudes since 2016, says that his interest in figurative art forms inspired him to take it up. He chiefly draws his inspiration from Helmut Newton, Prabuddha Dasgupta, Raja Ravi Varma, Osho, Annie Leibovitz, Bob Dylan, and Sixto Rodriguez.
A firm believer in the idea of freedom, Siddhant spoke to us about his method.
“I try to make the person who is being photographed free of himself/herself; free from the thought that his/her body needs to be in covers because society doesn’t like nudity or explicit content and always correlates it with sex, lust or something bad. Also, I try to make them feel comfortable in their own skin.”
View his work here.
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