Born in Switzerland in 1980 to Indian parents, I did something that most Indians wouldn’t do, I moved back to the country of my origins in 2008. I’ve been living and working in Mumbai, the megapolis I call home, for the last 11 years. I am both Swiss and Indian, and neither Swiss nor Indian. This tension in my identity has colored all my life and I try to use it in my photography as well.
I have been shooting for close to 6 years now and joined the In-Street collective, an India-based photography collective a year ago. I have also launched recently a new collective in Mumbai with a few like-minded photographers: Bambai Collective. Our aim is to spread this art form and create a sense of community within the city (something that I feel is sorely missing).
My camera follows me everywhere I go, whether on my commute to work, my professional trips, or trips back home to visit my mom and brother. Although I love to shoot everywhere, I have connected with some cities more than others:
– Mumbai, because it’s my current home and has untapped potential. As an Indian city, it is usually overlooked and people prefer to go to Delhi, Varanasi, or Kolkata. I’d like to give Mumbai its rightful place as one of the most varied and interesting cities to shoot.
– Singapore: somehow the “tension” between the chaos of the East and the structure of the West has always appealed to me.
– Kolkata: A city that speaks to my soul.
These are the places that I’d like to keep exploring over the next years.
I discovered the joys (and frustrations) of street photography in 2014 after joining a few groups on Facebook and attending a workshop. I can safely say that it has changed my life for the better.
I think about photography all the time and try to shoot as often as possible with dedicated shooting days on weekends and holidays.
Everything that can be captured in a candid setting attracts me: a strange tree, a gorgeous shadow, the colors of India, a party with friends. My camera never leaves my side so I never have to regret missing a shot because I didn’t have it.
I try to cram as much life as possible within my shots. People, their relationship with one another, with their surroundings. The religious festivals of India attract me immensely. Witnessing the faith of people, the kinship between strangers, the way they surrender themselves to a higher power is fascinating to me. The fact that Mumbai is home to most of the major religions makes it easy for me to document them without having to travel too much.
Ever since I was old enough to travel on my own, I had a camera with me to shoot my trips. However, very early on, I could feel that something was missing: the pictures I was taking of buildings, of landscapes, were just not talking to me. That feeling changed the first time I saw street photographs (probably something by HCB). I realized at that moment that this was the type of pictures, I wanted, I needed to shoot. It felt like a piece of the puzzle that I didn’t even know was missing was finally found.
To me, photography is an act of meditation, a way for me to connect with the world, a spiritual experience. I shoot because there is nothing else I’d rather do. It’s also a way for me to spread art in a world where it is less and less valued as a life pursuit or even as a hobby. I believe that with more art in our lives, we would lead a happier and healthier existence.