Capturing authenticity and culture with Licensing Contributor Ashvini Sihra
At 500px amazing photography is at our core, but these photos would not be possible without the talented people behind the lens. The 500px Spotlight series highlights the global and diverse photographers that are part of the 500px Community. This week we are excited to introduce you to Licensing Contributor Ashvini Sihra.
Ashvini Sihra is an Indian photographer currently based in Rajasthan, India. The 500px team is captivated by her use of color, originality, and authenticity. Ashvini takes inspiration from her culture, experiences, and the people she photographs. Her work has a subtle way of reminding the viewer that our humanness and histories are what shape us as individuals and that should be celebrated.
Q: Hello Ashvini! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Okayyy… I come from a very small town in Rajasthan, a very historical state of India.
I love traveling and exploring different cultures and people. I try to bring that authenticity of a place into my photography.
Q: Ashvini, when did you first pick up a camera, and what made you want to explore photography as a career?
A: I tried a few different things in different clubs during college. Photography club was the place where I first used a camera. Initially, I was not sure which genre I liked the most, but I knew I loved taking portraits. I love capturing people in their most natural forms. I only bought my first camera as a hobby, but then it became much more than that.
Q: At 500px we believe understanding other cultures and places enriches one’s creative practice. Can you tell us about the arts and culture scene in India?
A: If I try to explain it here, I won’t be able to describe it. Even I am not fully aware of all the diversity that India holds. There is so much to explore and to learn. India is filled with rich and diverse cultures that people take pride in preserving and passing on to their coming generations.
Modern forms of art are developing day by day, but many artists like to keep a touch of their culture and originality in their works.
Q: Your portfolio is a pleasure to scroll through! The 500px team is constantly amazed by how every shoot you produce has a unique feel. One thing that stands out to us is your use of color! What inspires your color choices?
A: I come from Rajasthan—if you Google that word, the images section of the browser will be filled with colorful photographs. It’s definitely Rajasthani culture and style that inspires me to fill my photographs with colors.
Q: As a photographer, you know that color is a great way to communicate feelings and emotions to the viewer. It is especially important to know how to use it effectively in commercial advertising. Can you walk us through your creative process of planning and styling this shoot?
A: One thing when shooting well planned portraits is that your subject should pop out and be the focus of the photograph. I shot this photo inside my home, so the wall was my backdrop. I had no other options, and I wanted my model to stand out from the background—so light pink against olive green—I love that contrast. I don’t know the science, but it should look good to me—and it did.
Q: You creatively use your photography as a stage to represent your life and community in India. What do you want your audience to take away when they view your work?
A: I used to be embarrassed about these same things as a kid. As I grew older, I started admiring it and taking pride in it. And started including that in my work. So, I think one thing that my audience can take away from me and my work is that there is no shame in being authentic and, more importantly, being yourself. I want people to admire the things that have shaped them as the human that they are now.
Q: The 500px team often describes your portfolio as authentic, real, and inspirational. What are your thoughts on authenticity in commercial advertising?
A: I think authenticity is the future. The time for “just for the show” things is gone. Authenticity brings credibility, and that is very important.
Q: We appreciate how your shoots make everyday places exceptionally beautiful and original. It is a skill that seems to come naturally to you. If you were given an unlimited budget to execute any shoot you dream of, what would it be?
A: Ooooo, tough question—one thing for sure is it’ll be a showcase of Indian culture. Maybe a shoot where I cover different states of India, each shoot curated in such a way that it shows the roots and the richness of the place’s culture and traditions.
Q: Would you rather have the ability to fly and take photos from above, or transport yourself anywhere and take photos across the world?
A: Definitely transport myself—we have drones now for flying.
Q: Are there any projects you have on the go or in the near future that you can share with us?
A: Not at the moment. I am focusing on one of my social media pages right now, which is going well. But I love arranging shoots for 500px, as they give me a clear picture of what they’re looking for, but I always have the liberty to customize it.
Q: Can you share a career defining moment or project with us?
A: In terms of stock photography, it was 500px that got me serious about commercial photography, particularity the 500px Project #ShowUs Commercial Grants.
Keep up with more work by Ashvini Sihra:
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