Existing in Dualities
Better Photography|April 2021
Ashima Raizada talks to Conchita Fernandes about finding similarities in the raging disconnectedness surrounding us.
Conchita Fernandes

Photographs are flat surfaces upon which elements are assembled and meaning is ascribed. Sometimes though the meaning is not very apparent, but we make the picture anyway on behalf of our intuition. We count on the eventual emergence of some coherent meaning from the collection of discordant pictures. Still, at times, the essence of the photographs continue to evade us. But we hold on to it because of the waft of possibility that drew us to the image in the first place. Ashima Raizada’s journey into photography began with this very dilemma, which led her into explorations that traversed beyond what a single image could be.

SAMENESS VERSUS DIFFERENCE

“When you don’t know the rules, it opens up a world of possibilities,” says Ashima who is a self-taught, mixed media artist. In the beginning, she was very interested in architectural forms and geometry, and Chandigarh, her home, provided ample opportunities thanks to Le Corbusier’s modernist designs. “As much as I enjoyed making these pictures, they were too aesthetically pleasing and devoid of meaning. I wasn’t able to appreciate them anymore. There was so much more that I wanted to say and ideas that I wanted to convey. This was the moment of transition because I began thinking about possibilities that went beyond the single image. And that’s precisely when the idea of diptychs came into fruition,” she says.

At the time, Ashima reading a lot on the subject of philosophy, where she was introduced to the concept of sameness versus difference. “I came across a video that explored the following thought… Are you someone who sees the similarities in the world you’re looking at? Or are you someone who sees the distinctions in it? The video went on to discuss the idea of interconnectedness, and this struck me in a very different way. I felt this was a thought that was worth introspecting over and delving deeper into. My diptychs are an outcome of this,” she says.

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