‘Contrast’ is a project about emotions. Emotions that I felt when I left home for a new country. Emotions that I want the viewer to feel and connect with.
Traveling has been a part of my life since my childhood. My father, who travels extensively for work, used to regale me with tales of his travel which I, as a child, found thrilling. His stories were forever engraved in my memory and it wasn’t until I went to England for my studies that I found myself revisiting those old memories.
Living in a new country where the culture is vastly different to what I had been brought up was a surreal experience. During my time there, I learnt that the world is a welcoming place, regardless of the way you looked or the clothes you wore. Even though I stood out from the crowd at times and felt as though I were in an environment that I didn’t belong in, people accepted me for who I was.
Having said all that, I never fully felt at home there due to reasons that I couldn’t explain to myself. At the end of the day, I felt like an outsider even though the world around me appeared to treat me indifferently. The subtle emotion that I experienced is hard to describe in words.
It is this emotion that I want to portray through ‘Contrast’. A feeling that you are a part of their society but you know that you will never be accepted as one of them.
I felt that the best way to portray this emotion would be through showcasing the contrast of cultures visually. One of the distinct points of any culture is the clothing that one wears as it instantly sets us apart in a crowd of strangers.
I decided to shoot a western model in typical Indian situations. I researched wardrobe styles that depicted a range of western cultures and locations around the city of Hyderabad, India that one would expect to encounter during an average day. I matched both of them with the intention of extrapolating the contrast between them while being harmonious in terms of composition and colour. I was keen on the model having a sober expression since it would be an essential element of the image to portray the emotion that I wished to convey through these images.
‘Contrast’ is a journey through emotions that the well-travelled among us would relate to while the new-to-travel can become more aware of the emotions associated with leaving home. You can view the full set of images at this link.
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Currently listening to – The Canyon by A.R. Rahman