In India, professional female photographers are on the rise. Their photographs tell remarkable stories of women and children, wildlife and climate change, adventure and extreme sports, and everyday moments. It’s a healthy sign of our growing artistic community and their creative approach towards building a more caring world. The collective voice of these women is both powerful and inspiring. These photographers recognize that a photograph has the ability to transform attitudes and perceptions. In the hope for change, these 11 emerging and established photographers fearlessly tell diverse stories of India.
1. Arati Kumar Rao
As an environmental photographer, Arati is committed to telling stories of South Asia’s rivers that have been slowly and structurally degraded by human activity. In her photographs, she captures a glimpse of the violence inflicted on the people who live on the riverbanks. Many of them are denied basic human rights in the name of development. Arati spends a long time in the field researching, and with grounded knowledge, she depicts a lived experience which is immeasurably affected by the negative impact humans have on the environment. It is her hope that the world will pay attention to not only the symptoms but the real causes of deterioration within valuable ecosystems and communities.
2. Cheena Kapoor
Social/Women & Children
Cheena walks with her camera on the streets of India’s red light districts and the corridors of mental asylums in India. As a photojournalist, she has spent time with women involved in commercial surrogacy and young female drug addicts, some who are as young as five. With humility and respect, she presents their lived experiences to those who would otherwise never get a glimpse of this world.
3. Prarthna Singh
Inspired by everyday life, Prarthna presents her art as an invitation to experience and imagine the daily reality of her subjects. Natural light plays a major role in her photographs. She tells stories about the human condition, and to Prarthna, that’s very important in the pursuit of her art form. As an artist, she is honest and kind in the hope that the viewers’ engagement shifts from observation to participation.
4. Vinita Barretto
Black and White/Everyday Life
Vinita captures dreamy moments in black and white. Her photographs are a result of unexpected simple stories — the joy in a little boy playing football, a cat sleeping, or boatmen working on the shore. For Vinita, photography captures the beauty of everyday life. After several years of doing odd jobs, she now decisively dedicates all her time to refining her craft.
5. Neelima Vallangi
Neelima enjoys the challenge of capturing nature in its raw form. She takes out her camera at the sight of a quiet, colorful morning sky, a violently magnificent snowstorm or monsoon rainfall. She seeks and explores those kinds of moments — unexpected events in imperfect shooting conditions to depict the untamed natural world.
6. Soumya Iyer
A love for color is evident in Soumya’s photographs. The subtle language of her art sets varied moods in her portraits that explore fashion and culture. Her subjects look comfortable in their own skin and the pictures seem to reveal their character. Soumya’s dedication to portraiture is shaped by her desire to capture humanity through her images
7. Paromita Chatterjee
As a young photographer, Paromita documented the Lok Sabha elections in Varanasi. It was then that she felt a responsibility as an artist. She photographed one woman who had lost her children to malnutrition due to an epidemic in the village. Through this experience, Paromita learned how those villagers pinned their hope for aid on people in the media. She understood power dynamics that come from capturing suffering. Inspired by Robert Capa’s statement, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” Paromita tries to get as close as possible to her subjects in an attempt to promote social change.
8. Kopal Goel
Kopal is a climber and photographer who pulls artistic strength and direction from moments where boundaries are pushed and limits are reset. This is conveyed through her work. She documents Indian people in extreme sports such as rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, biking, and surfing. Through her recent initiative, Inspire Crew, Kopal celebrates women who are breaking barriers in their sport.
9. Saumya Khandelwal
Social & Cultural
As a photographer, Saumya searches for stories of lives behind closed doors. For her, there is an inexplicable joy in discovering deeper layers of people and culture through her photography. Recently, she embarked on a project that exposed the reality of child brides in India. Through her photographs, she shares stories of girls who are subjected to live without a sense of escape or alternative. Saumya hopes that her work will compel others to support child welfare.
10. Rema Chaudhary
Rema likes her photographic compositions to exude a sense of openness. In her photography, there is an impression of harmony. Her inspiration doesn’t come from an extraordinary event; it is derived from the natural environment and the everyday.
11. Riddhi Parekh
Riddhi feels a sense of accountability knowing how easily a frame opens up a whole new world for all those involved: the person behind it, the one in front of it, and finally the viewer who experiences the image. In the pursuit of meaning, she doesn’t like to feel restricted by genres, although many of her photographs are inspired by the outdoors. In every image, the outer world isn’t merely a beautiful landscape; for Riddhi, people make the place. They are present in her photographs, just as uninhibited as nature itself.
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