Posted on : 21/09/2018 11:45am
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Tell us something about yourself and how did you get started creating?
Deepti Asthana: I am an engineer by profession and started travelling in 2012. I met a landscape photographer back in the UK while working for an IT company and that’s how I got introduced to photography. I wanted to try different things, and hence started travelling more and started writing about it as well. I tried my hands on fashion and wedding photography. But after a while, I realized that is not what I wanted to do. I continued to travel but pursued offbeat travels visiting rural parts of India.
I found the need for covering the stories of rural women which happened accidentally on my travel. I met a couple of women, connected with them and found so many issues that had to be solved and that’s how I felt the need to cover such stories. I find the gap between urban and rural India to be huge. Women in rural areas have no knowledge about women rights or make their own career choices. Issues such as child marriage, infant foeticide still continue to persist at a large scale. As a city girl, I found a huge difference in the ability to make choices in a city and the way of expressing oneself through social media in contrast to rural areas where there was no one to hear them out or no one to talk about the issues.
During the travel sojourns, I found that women in rural areas do not know what is feminism and they accept things because they are not aware of it. I travelled to different parts of India and understood that not many people understand what’s happening in rural India. Through my work, I hope to bridge the gap between women in urban and rural India by giving a platform to women who are otherwise voiceless and have no medium to be heard.
I want to make a tangible change in the lives of such women. I plan to build a team with different skill sets, such as writing, social service etc. At the moment, I put up crowdfunding to fund my project even though I’m not very comfortable with it and I hope to figure a way out with branded companies. I am working with brands on travel projects but not on women empowerment project yet. This is the idea I want to pursue after 6 months or so.
How would you describe your photography style? and way of working?
I did not attend any school or workshop for photography. I learned it on my own and consider myself to be a raw photographer who feels the gut and follows the gut. I have no idea about the philosophy of photography but my way of working is to build relationships with people, build trust with people. I believe if one can build the trust with people, the same will be reflected in pictures. And I feel blessed to be able to build relationships with people and get the pictures as well as emotions right. I always focus on listening to and understanding what they are going through while keeping my camera packed until they feel comfortable around me and then start shooting. And that’s why it takes me longer than usual photography shoots.
Did you face any kind of problems while pursuing this field? How satisfied do you feel after working in this field?
I quit my comfortable job and feel very satisfied with my present work. Though I travel a lot, I don’t want to travel relentlessly without any aim. I find my work hard, actually very hard but at the very same time really satisfying as when I think of the bigger picture, my job is needed. I have no idea what future has in store, how I am going to carry out or how long this will run but at the moment I am very happy and satisfied. The response I have received from people and media has been good. I have been receiving proposals for similar projects to work on, for example, the project in Tamil Nadu is funded by Goa Serendipity Art Festival, one of the largest art festivals in India. I feel that things are rolling out and I am motivated doing the work I am doing which is great.
Which genre of photography that interests you the most? and why? What are your top three favourite photography locations?
I started with travel photography as I really wanted to travel and photography inspired me to travel more. I moved on from that since I got involved in more and more documentary and journalism which I felt is really important. It shows one what it is like to be in real sense as it doesn’t show just the negative images but also the positive images and that is also what I try to do in my work, not just focus on the negative stories but also the inspiring stories; the genres I focus, touch upon and feel great about.
If not this, What would have Deepti been doing?
I was very inclined to art as a kid. If not for my being good at academics and taking up mathematics and science in school, I would have pursued something in art. I was good at sketching and painting as a child. However, I am not good at anything else at the moment except photography.
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