Exploring Women and Identity

I have always been a thinker and observer of people and behaviour. Topics of liberation, self-expression, human ideas of love and bonding in different cultures have interested me and in the past few years, I have been documenting these in a journal with my own ideas and notes. Stories by Rabindranath, Arundhati Roy's God of small things, Luciana, which is a book based in Mexico that talks about women identity have been reads I really enjoyed and related to.  All these deal with complex emotions revolving around women in different times. I only recently realised this pattern of interest and started to work on projects that were also self-expressions of some sort as I am also a woman who is divided between my ideas of liberation and culture. This project started ( at that time unconsciously ) in 2009. I was living in London, and I enjoyed visiting many vintage stores that had these rare images. I was just attracted to collecting women photos. After I had about 20 of them, all collected during travels in different times, I put them up on a wall in my studio. Earlier this year I decided to put these together into a project with some notes and thought that had been floating in my head as it all made sense. I feel very connected to this idea of perception of women, how they see themselves and how people see them, which is also a way they perceive the world. I feel photos can be great tools to take the dialogue ahead of beauty and perception and self. Apart from these photos, I also have a few photos of men, mostly royalties which I haven't developed into a project yet. I also have been documenting my father's childhood through a photo series, trying to understand how a personality built, as I truly believe that people are products of their journey and its the journey that interests me. I got this photo of 2 women dressed in winter coats from Kingston flea market for 2 pounds. It immediately connected with me as I liked the idea of women supporting women. This photo doesn't show them happy or sad, but I liked the youth of their face and almost like they have an energy of mischief. I like to think, why they must have taken this photo, why was that day special for them. This photo also has a small signature at the back which made it so authentic and personal, like I almost have a part of someone else's memory who is unknown.  Since most of my travels have been in Europe and India, all my pictures are from these parts. I am very keen on images from Russia and South America. It would be so interesting to see those and add them to the collection. It is this photo with a lady sitting on a table with the paper torn exactly where her face is. I found it exactly like this in a small shop in Jodhpur. Its so interesting how she is dressed in expensive clothes, suggesting beauty and royalty but her face, her true identity isn' there. I like these half empty, torn/ wounded kind of images. This collection explores identity of women of different times and tries to read the emotions in the images and understands that women from all parts of the world, all with different upbringing seek the same love, respect and acceptance.  This all happened during many years and only developed organically and unconsciously into a project, but earlier this year when I wanted to make it into a concrete compilation, I felt like a circle was complete. And this moment was special.