I was 18 when Homai Vyarawalla, India’s first female photojournalist passed away i.e in the year 2012. It was the news of her death that introduced me to such a simple and powerful woman. I was surprised and equally felt bad for my own self, that I got to know about her so late.
I am not sure when and how the camera was invented. I tried searching for some reliable resources on internet to share on my blog, but I didn’t find any. Instead I found an interesting website of the world’s first photographs.
So what is a camera? A device that clicks photos, right? Well that’s how many of us understand it. If you are looking for more detailed answer, like 1000 words answer on how camera actually creates a sharp image, here is a site for you!
I wonder if Homai Vyarawalla thought the same about cameras! She was the first Indian woman in the 1940s capturing the most iconic images of Indian Freedom history and remember all of this in a saree.
Today in 2020, almost 80 years later, the cameras have changed, times have changed and a saree is reserved only for special occasions like weddings.
One palpable change can be seen in the subject (or objects) used for photography. Photography is broadly used for two things first for journalism (showing the true face of the society) and second for advertisement which means showing the truth (or untruth) is a better way! Both the fields rely more or less on the same equipment, but have different goals to achieve. Now a camera is also used in the film industry, but for now we shall keep it out of our sight.
From the black and white era we have come to the era of Instagram, where pictures speak more than words. And sometimes they make the words go speechless. And in this paradigm shift, the subject or object of photography is turning a bit more feminine.
Homai Vyarawalla was a woman behind the camera, capturing the reality through her lens. Her subject was the society, which included men, women, rich and poor.
But today’s photography preaches women more as an object, from an advertising aspect. Maybe I am not aware about today’s women who are behind the cameras, giving directions. If you know about any such women please enlighten me about the same in the comments below.
The same social media has definitely helped women to raise their voices, talk about topics as natural as periods. But we would want this strength to spread beyond the social media, to places where it has not yet reached. Like the women making ends meet in the rural areas, the women of the previous generation (our mothers, grandmothers), women who could not complete their education and are now compelled to work on unfair daily wages.
#feminism is good for spreading awareness and at the same time helps business giants formulate their marketing strategies. #feminism promotes women power and also cosmetic products at the same time.
Real power lies in giving directions, taking up responsibility, learning from mistakes and moving on!
Wishing you all a happy weekend!