Brief: Decide on a specific subject (clouds, council houses, octogenarians) and work on making a series of photographs. It’s best to choose a subject you have daily access to – your workplace, your home, a friend or a particular activity, for example – but you must be clear at the outset what your subject is. You have two important pieces of information before you’ve even begun to take pictures: you have your subject and you have your method of presentation. Now think about how you’ll approach the subject itself. For example, making wide shots from a distance would be very different from getting close into the action. But decide on a single visual strategy – as Keith did in the Ironman series. When you’ve made the final selection of photographs, print them and place them in a grid or linear series. Invite people you know to comment on them and note down their responses. Take a look at Michael Wolf’s series My Favourite Things photomichaelwolf.com.
This exercise was inspired by a road trip that I made and has been shot from a moving car, from behind the windscreen. It was also inspired by a saying and my take on it – “Behind every successful rural Indian man, is a woman sitting behind him on a bike.”
The colourful attire of these rural women, who are so comfortable in the six yards of cloth, called an Indian sari, wrapped around them and proudly sitting behind their men not only is a subject of interest but also hints at their social status in their respective villages. Being able to afford a bike in itself is an accomplishment for them, but more than that is the fact that these women belong to the emerging class of women who are socially becoming more outgoing and are just not limited to the confines of their village home and farm. To me it is an accomplishment for the Indian rural women and with this series I want to celebrate their journey.
Looking at these images, one also gets scared of the little or no safety measures that exist on the Indian highways. One can see triple riding as a very common feature, as can be seen in these images. One can also see infants and toddlers hanging on without even the most basic of security measures undertaken for their safety.
I enjoyed this as a subject and documenting the series as a whole, along with the various small things that emerged in these images that depict the underlying problems of Indian society at large, where safety measures are not cared about and are more often than not ignored.