As a celebration of World Photography Day, CPB Prism sent out an open call for photography submissions to photographers across India! While some people have been photographing time at home with a loved one, others have used their newfound free time to discover a new hobby or to learn something new.
The submissions we received throughout August revealed the various ways in which we all engage with photography, whether its to capture our interactions with our homes and spaces or the unique ways in which we’ve been documenting our world during the lockdown.
Check out a few series of images shared by photographers across India talking about what photography has meant to them during this period.
Kicking off our series #InAugustCompany is a beautiful series of photographs of the sky by Sabaritha Ernavoor, shot from a window in her room.
“Since I’m a self-taught budding camera woman, I always carry my camera along with me wherever I go. I’m never alone when I’m with my camera. During the lockdown, I spent my days within four walls; the window was the only gate to feel the existence of the sky. Even though I had much time to explore with my camera, I had taken only a few pictures. I then realised that photography is not only an internal force, it also depends on external surroundings. After 60 days of self-isolation, I challenged myself and came out of the locked room with my camera. And I started to enjoy watching the sky through my lens. Finally found poetry through my photography during lockdown.”
Kathir is a Tamil word that translates to ‘ray of sunlight’. The series above, titled Kathir, was conceptualized by Varsha Sowmyanarayanan early 2018 in an attempt to visually represent what ‘hometown’ (i.e. Chennai) meant to her.
“For me,” says Varsha, “it was sunlight (kathir) in my house. I had tried to capture an indescribable meditative feeling that the sunlight evokes in me, thereby translating into something intimate, delicate and ephemeral.”
Talking about what photography has meant to her during the lockdown, she says, “My photo series Kathir (#5pmKathir) has always been about sunlight, particularly in my house. So, in terms of my photography, pre-lockdown and actual lockdown presented similar themes.
“However, the lockdown period is not only about being at home, but constantly sharing the space with family. While my photos still feature sunlight and its interaction with my house, they now also embrace new characters and welcome them into their clique.
“The biggest learning from the months during lockdown is to be able to continually adapt to the given situation and be more open to spontaneity. Kathir too has surprised me with its ability to create something new each time it’s 5pm. It has chosen not to be bogged down by the same four walls. Maybe in its ephemerality, Kathir has a lesson to teach us all.”
“The series is about the time which we are all in. During the early days of the lockdown, I signed up for a photography conversation which was pretty interesting – I had to work with another artist from a different part of the world.
“The space is very limited, and yet our thoughts can go beyond the horizon. When I was sent back home from work in mid-afternoon, the roads were completely empty and the structures looked bigger and hollower without people on the road. After that, it was mostly about capturing small moments inside my home which I usually didn’t notice when I was busy travelling and working.
“I’m trying to learn new things and taking things as I go. The conversation kept me engaged with my space and made me spend more time with my family. The process during the lockdown is slow. You get bored easily. But it helps you notice a lot of things around you and you start to get into the details of whatever you do. Photography was a good tool for me to communicate with the outside world through my pictures in my own way.”
“Goa with her abundance of nature, goes through summer and monsoon, offering beautiful changes to her landscapes. Witnessing change of colours from brown to green and capturing all this during the lockdown was something kept my creativity going. It was a surprise to see Goa which is always filled with tourists to where now hardly any now. Which now making the place even more beautiful.”
“I am a passionate learner of photography. My interest for photography developed when I was doing schooling; that was the first time I held a camera in my hand. I could feel and see a future in it. From then to now, my interest for photography has been increasing day by day. During this lockdown, I did a lot of experiments and research with camera and lights. Learnt how the lights, colouring, texture, and details play a vital role in getting a perfect image. I am fascinated with Outdoor and Indoor shoots, they have always been my favourite. I just realised that what we imagine and dream can be brought out through the lens of our eyes. Time spent with my camera is my favourite time and it brings me a lot of happiness.”
August 7 is celebrated as #NationalHandloomDay, as a way to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement. The movement had been launched in 1905 on the same date, and is now used to create awareness and acceptance towards the handloom sector and its exquisite work. We take this opportunity to celebrate the occasion with @vaishnaviramesh_photography, a passionate weaver!
Vaishnavi has her own #loom at home, and spends most of her quarantined time weaving and capturing the beauty of this art form. Her weaving joinery began about ten years ago. What began as a hobby has now turned into an enduring passion called Aslii Thari.
Aslii Thari hopes to cast a spotlight on reviving this beautiful handicraft. Every product she weaves is unique, eco-friendly and sustainable.
”To me, weaving is artistic therapy like no other,” says Vaishnavi. “This lockdown has been a blessing in disguise. It has allowed me to explore my creativity with my family. My mom and I set up the loom together, it takes us about 2 hours. Eight to ten hours later, I’m able to cherish my woven creation. My father helps me document my weaving process and encourages me to explore new techniques. My sister is just a call away; despite the distance, she loves watching me weave virtually. Truly blessed to have a family that bonds over my weaving.”
She is currently weaving a collection of scarves, and has shared a small stop-motion video of the process! Swipe to see.
“This series is about the life I witnessed during the lockdown both inside and outside of home, and I tried to photograph the things I did and the things I saw in the last few months.
Despite the difficulties faced by everyone, this was a time of bonding for me – with my family and with myself. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new dishes, a lot of time in my room where I would just stare at the ceiling, a dedicated garden time growing veggies for the first time, evenings in the terrace with my entire family where each of us would do our own thing, and most of the time I would just be in awe of the life above us – often looking up at the sky to watch the sunset, the clouds doing their drama and the birds doing their thing. There were days when I would step out to buy essentials for home, and that’s when I’d realise how life is different for each one of us who’s just trying to survive this pandemic in our own way.
There is so much life all around us and I must say that this pandemic has definitely helped me understand the value of life and appreciate simple pleasures. I do miss the outdoors, but I am also very grateful for the ocean which isn’t too far away from home.”
Follow @cpbprism on Instagram and stay tuned for more in this series!