Lighting up the Lens
POOL|POOL 84

Ishita Singh enjoys the adventure of wandering where her camera and peripatetic nature take her even as she tries to balance her pursuit of art with more commercial projects

How did you discover your passion for the camera?

IS: I grew up in a family that appreciates and celebrates art, and was exposed to painting and music at a very young age. I owe this ‘discovery’ and everything that came after in my career to my grandfather, who gifted me all the initial technical knowledge, equipment and instruments for this craft. His tiny photography lessons and constant support and interest made me fall in love with photography. He gave me an expressive outlet, a medium that I didn’t have before. I consider myself extremely lucky be surrounded by family that nudged me forward and supported me throughout, never once questioning the path I had chosen for myself.

How did formal education impact your career?

IS: I don’t think a professional degree is essential for this field; at the end of the day it is your passion that speaks and everyone has a unique journey in search of that passion. As I was already sure that I wanted to pursue photography after school, I went ahead looking for a creative course in India. I feel my Bachelor’s and Master’s both played very important, but vastly different roles in my journey.

My Bachelor’s at NIFT prepared me for my commercial career by giving me a peek into the fashion industry. I learnt how to honor strict deadlines and successfully collaborate with different types people by solving our creative differences. As I had also started freelancing around the same time, managing projects with a heavy college schedule embedded in me the importance of time management and work ethics from the very beginning. Apart from the technical knowledge of the craft and industry, these four years brought a sense of confidence that I could make a living doing what I love.

Pursuing MA Photography from London College of Communication (University of Arts) taught me to shoot with a framework and purpose, and bridged the gap in my abilities and understanding of contemporary art. Apart from development at an academic and research level, I was always surrounded by art and artists, and there were hundreds of galleries to explore in the city of London.

Experimenting with my practice at a global level not only expanded the horizon academically, but also culturally. As I was working with femininity in an Indian context at that time, comparing and creating a dialogue with the same in a global community opened up a whole new world of possibilities and discussions.

What, in your opinion, defines femininity in Indian society today?

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