Capturing Verity With Her Lens: Riddhi Parekh
Riddhi Parekh is not your usual photographer. She believes in power of expression through photography. Through her memorable still shots, Riddhi beautifully highlights the bewildering and thought-provoking questions that underpin Indian society. Through visual communication she highlights India’s psychological mindset and true identity. At her core, she is a life-long learner and believes in the practice of continuous evolution to achieve the best version of oneself.
1. Photography is still viewed as a male dominant field. Making a mark in it must have been a challenge. What did your journey entail, from Riddhi to Riddhi Parekh: Photographer. Artist. Visionary.
2. The train series is a brilliant piece of art. It received a lot of attention. Positive and negative. What kind of backlash did you face in terms of representing the supposed ‘classes’ in one frame? What would you say is the root cause of people viewing these pictures as ‘poverty porn’ or ‘class inappropriation?’
Riddhi Parekh: That’s a tough and sensitive one. You are right I did get my fair bit of backlash for this series. Lot of people were not comfortable seeing a fairly white girl with a bunch of brown “underprivileged men”. My question to those people is- Why are they assuming that those people are poor and taken advantage of? Why do they think I didn’t take their consent before taking those photos? Why do they think that girl is not Indian? Why is it so uncomfortable to see a girl standing strongly amongst those men? How is this poverty porn? Did any of the photos depict those men were beneath or lower than the girl? Isn’t fair skin shaming not racism? Would people be more comfortable if the girl was brown or the men were also white? I don’t have answers, I only have more questions.
3. Shoots must be stressful but fun! What’s a fond memory you’d like to share from behind the scenes?
4. You’ve come a long way. You’ve tried many professions and finally found what gives you joy but what’s next is Riddhi’s journey?
Riddhi Parekh: Oh tons, I am always excited to try new things. I recently co-directed my first digital ad for coca-cola India. Direction is definitely something I am dabbling in. But photography is my first passion and I want to create more personal work that I can be proud of and is unique yet inspiring.
5. What’s a message or mantra you’d want to give to the youth of this country?