We have seen the pictures of pride parades, the extravagant performances, and the colourful makeup. But capturing the true essence of the rainbow flag and what it means to be queer, transgender, asexual, or the other many forms of sexuality or gender can only be explained in words. Photographs like paintings have the power of a thousand words, and these Indian photographers justify it.
Amazing photographers who captured a series of pictures that show the LGBTQ+ in all its glory. The pictures that talk about life as an LGBTQ+ member and the acceptance, versatility, of gender and sexuality in its various ways.
Here are the photographers’ stories and a glimpse of their photo series
1. Monisha Ajgaonkar
The photographer captures a series of emotions that shed light on change and transformation.
Monisha Ajgaonkar is a Mumbai based activist and an entrepreneur. She is also the founder of Photo Dairy, a firm that specializes in commercial and wedding photography. “Blossom”, is the transition of a transsexual person. Sushant Divgikar, one of the top drag queens in India and an influential person in the LGBTQ+ community, is the model before the lens. Sushant, using his colourful persona, brings forth a natural oomph to the pictures.
Images Courtesy: gaysifamily.com
2. Arjun Kamath
The love between two women, a couple’s love is captured through a powerful fictional photo-series ‘Coming Out‘.
Arjun said that a lot of social factors influenced him in creating a fictional piece. ‘Coming Out’- has created been a sensation among the people and received immense appreciation. The words ‘Coming Out of the Closet’ have been literally used to artistically represent the fears of coming out and its aftermath.
Coming out is a big step for most people. It is not easy to come to terms with yourself, and also explain to others what and who you are. In the photographs, one can easily see the hesitation in the eyes of the model hiding in the closet, and the comfort they seek in each other.
Images Courtesy: campaignoftheworlds.com
3. Soumya Sankar Bose
It captures a journey of the Indian mindset over the gender and sexual identities of the queer community. Through this series, he wishes to capture common queer people and their hopes and dreams in India. The series talks about a cobbler and a junior artist who have no knowledge about the LGBTQ+, or why people hold on to rainbow-colored flags and walk around the streets of Kolkata, and want to be like women.
The creative take on the perspective, where the cameraperson becomes as important as the person in the image because of how the picture is clicked, is remarkable.
Images Courtesy: soumyasankarbose.in
4. Indu Antony-
A passionate and revolutionary photographer who works with themes around rape, feminism, body positivity and justice.
The Toto Photography awardee has worked closely with the Transgender Community in her series, “Beauty in the Blur”. Indu has also undertaken projects like “Manifest” which captures twelve queer women from Bangalore, as they took to the streets to explore androgyny by inhabiting male characters. Indu engages queerness with openness and honesty.
Image Courtesy : homegrown.co.in
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5. Soham Gupta-
The photographer’s Blue Flower, is a collection of black and white images of trans women from the streets of Kolkata.
Gupta’s work was born out of a chance and friendship, which consisted of the sensitive side of the Transgender Community. There is a lot of tenderness, subtle in all the images of the series of Blue Flower. The transgender Community allowed the photographer to enter the lives of these women and document them too.
The subtlety of the photographs touches upon the human aspect, which people usually tend to forget in the conversations about the LGBTQ+. Using commoners who struggle, to document reality is as raw as the idea gets.
Image Courtesy: homegrown.co.
Photography has always made an attempt to capture the little and the bold, and mostly the beautiful. It is a form of art that helps present ideas in its truest forms. Although the LGBTQ+ community has so much diversity and culture, it gets tucked away as a ‘different’ section. But what art infuses is the probability of beauty and normalcy together. All the photographers mentioned have made an attempt either to deconstruct the issues of the LGBTQ+ community or have presented the beauty without making it seem outlandish.