“Close to My Heart” (2/11)


What drew you to the type of cultural photography you work on?

I was always a dreamer. From a very young age, I was dreaming about far away places and getting to know different cultures. I was always fascinated by traditions and the traditional clothes of different cultures and loved learning about them. On my first trip to outside of the normal tourist destinations, in Punjab, I was so blown away with the colors, the street life, and their culture so I started thinking that I want to capture all of that and to share it with others. At that time, it never struck me that later I would be doing what I’m doing today—traveling to some of the most remote areas in the search to photograph different cultures. Loving to do something is one thing but it is not always easy to start doing it. You see, being a wife, mother, and working full-time, you always think of everybody else first before you even starting thinking about what you want.

Then 2014 was the crucial year when I decided to step towards the complete unknown world. I remember I came across this amazing book Before They Pass Away by photographer Jimmy Nelson and I was completely blown away and mesmerized by his photographs of tribal people. I fell in love with his work and I was amazed by the diversity of different cultures presented who were trying to keep their culture. I remember looking at his photographs and I kept asking myself so many question—who are these people, do they still exist, how I can get there? There were thousands of questions going through my head up until today as I keep finding the answers by visiting some of those tribes, spending time with them, and photographing them.

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