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World Photography Day: Delhi’s shutterbugs are shattering stereotypes with their lens

By, New Delhi
Aug 19, 2023 02:10 PM IST

On World Photography Day,observed on August 19, here’s pointing the lens towards some NCR-based shutterbugs who are creating captivating compositions that challenge conventional norms.

On World Photography Day, today, here’s turning the lens towards some NCR-based photographers who are clicking captivating frames to shatter conventional norms. From whispering the tale of women’s mental well-being to painting emotions in pixels, daring to unmask taboos, and spotlighting menstruation and hygiene struggles — every click of theirs is an attempt to capture narratives that demand attention, through a canvas where compositions speak louder than words.

(L-R) Cheena Kapoor, Sumit Verma and Niraj Gera, are some of the NCR-based photographers who are breaking stereotypes, one frame at a time.
(L-R) Cheena Kapoor, Sumit Verma and Niraj Gera, are some of the NCR-based photographers who are breaking stereotypes, one frame at a time.

The sanity of survival

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Kapoor captures a joyous moment of a patient named Anu with her pal, who developed mental health problems after having a disturbed and torturous marriage (Photo: Cheena Kapoor)
Kapoor captures a joyous moment of a patient named Anu with her pal, who developed mental health problems after having a disturbed and torturous marriage (Photo: Cheena Kapoor)

Cheena Kapoor, a Delhi-based photographer chose to capture the Forgotten Daughters in the female ward at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), in the Capital. The place houses about 80 women with mental health problems. “Mental illness is not the only war the women fight here. It’s also the stigma of social acceptance and gender discrimination, which is a major cause of their trauma,” shares Kapoor, who has been practising her hand at the lens since eight years. She adds, “The male ward is always filled with anxious faces of family members waiting for the sons to return home while the daughters have been easily forgotten because most of them have faced one trauma or the other to be stuck in the mental health situation they are in, after which even their families do not wish to acknowledge their existence. The dilemma of hope in these women is what has been captured in the photo series.”

Love without limitations

Verma shot the pre-wedding shoot of this same-sex couple in the precincts of Hauz Khas Fort. (Photo: Sumit Verma)
Verma shot the pre-wedding shoot of this same-sex couple in the precincts of Hauz Khas Fort. (Photo: Sumit Verma)

“When I was chasing my dream to become a doctor, photography simply happened to me and that too wedding photography. The way emotions unfold at an Indian wedding is phenomenal,” says Sumit Verma, a Noida-based photographer breaking the stigma around weddings of couples from the LGBTQ+ community by offering them free photoshoots of their weddings and union ceremony. Verma, who started clicking pictures via his father’s camera since he was 10 years old, shares, “I had witnessed how hotels and resorts tend to deny bookings for same sex marriages, which is why I wanted to work for their inclusivity in the society. By focusing on LGBTQ+ couples, I aim to create a platform that acknowledges and validates their relationships, showing that they are just as significant and beautiful as any other couple because as per my belief, love comes with no boundaries, and such is the story of the same-sex couples who I’ve clicked.”

Good stains on the frames

A woman suffering from menorrhagia is represented in a pool of tears and blood by Gera. (Photo: Niraj Gera)
A woman suffering from menorrhagia is represented in a pool of tears and blood by Gera. (Photo: Niraj Gera)

“I believe it was important for a man to represent menstrual hygiene and talk about menstruation in some way because its not only a ‘women’ probably. The word menstruation itself has the word men in it, which is I felt it was important to educate people about it,” says Niraj Gera, a Delhi-based photographer who has been sensitising the society towards the stigmas associated with menstruation hygiene through his docu-series, Sacred Stains. “It wasn’t easy to capture the pictures in this series because even today, women in the rural parts of Delhi and other places are not very comfortable talking about menstruation with a man. This is why, for some photos I had to pose with the sanitary pad to make them know how it’s okay to touch the pad, even for a man, and they need to befriend it for their own betterment,” shares Gera, who’s been clicking pictures since 13 years.

Author tweets @maishascribbles

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