I started with myself as the subject; it was convenient and new for me at the time. Initially, I wanted to see myself in a different light and also have a say on how other people saw me, to a certain degree. But it became something else along the way; it brought me closer to myself. It pacified me.
I feel there is always a tension that comes with being the subject and the photographer. Because when you are in front of and behind the camera at the same time, you don’t know how it’s going to end up looking. It is like having control over the process, but also letting it go. When I click myself, as the self-timer goes off in 10 seconds, I am eager to see the picture and myself in it, because it makes me feel different every time.
Over time, I also became more aware of my own gaze, and learnt to appreciate my body, or not appreciate it sometimes, and be okay with both. I do hold my stomach in when I am clicking; someday I won’t. I don’t know.
The pictures in the project have frames where I have felt the most ecstatic ever, or the lowest. The process itself gave me clarity, made me self-aware.I tried to understand light at different times of the day and how it played with my body to create new forms. It brought me an awareness of my skin, really see it, find things I like and things I don’t. Coming to terms with my body is still a distant reality, but photographing it helps me break the dissonance.
With people, I have mostly shot those I am comfortable with. It makes me feel like I am getting to know them better -- the way they talk, move, how they think, getting deeper into that which already exists.
Making pictures is a way for me to react to experiences, unrestricted by the counter reaction because I am simply expressing. And that’s because everything was changing when I started clicking pictures. I was changing a lot, too. I was rebellious. I felt expressive in a way I never had. I wanted to believe that this is the world I live in now, this is my life that I can see and interpret for myself.
Growing up, I had been taught to keep everything to myself. Thoughts, desires, opinions, hurt- it was all internalized. Like no one wanted to hear what I had to say. And that still infuriates me, and drives me to create work that is not obedient. But it is also the reality.
Thinking about the future does not help. I still do sometimes, but I try not to. I just know I enjoy the process, and I want to learn more about myself, the space I inhabit, people I love, love itself, light, and longing.