Q How did you get into photography?
A I grew up in Burwell, and the quietness and isolation of my surroundings heightened my vivid imagination. I was obsessed with the unknown and the unseen and as I grew up I was itching to explore the far corners of the world. I was inspired by the natural wonders of the world and tapped into childhood memories when I took a photograph. I taught myself through trial and error, developing my own style. It all took off when a American publisher wanted to use one of my photos for a novel’s cover.
Q What are your thoughts on the art scene in Cambridge?
A It’s ever growing, and now there’s so much opportunity for artists from different backgrounds to display art in new, exciting ways. I started out at the Cambridge Art Salon, which was great for me to flourish as an individual and artist – it gave me the confidence to become the artist I am today, and makes art accessible to the community. My images were very personal and at first I felt shy and awkward showing people my work. A friend suggested the gallery to me and, plucking up the courage, I went down and met some lovely people who made me feel very welcome.
It was at the Cambridge Art Salon I first displayed my work, with amazing feedback. I still remember the feeling I got seeing people enjoying my images – it gave me the drive to continue. Every time I venture into town I find a new pop-up gallery, there’s definitely a new vibe in the air for young experimental artists. That’s what makes Cambridge great, a mix of old and new. I’d love to see more spaces that encourage younger people to explore their creative side, show work and connect with a multicultural society.
Q Who or what inspires you?
A I’m inspired by my friends, whom I cherish dearly, India and all its magical qualities, and music that makes my soul sing. I believe there is magic everywhere, and would love to harness that through my imagery. My art is a way of translating what I enjoy most: nature is my ultimate inspiration and sanctity.
Q What are you currently working on?
A Some beautiful images I took in India last year. The work is based on the Sanskrit word ‘samsara’, meaning going or wandering through. It’s about the Hindu belief of rebirth and the cycle of life. I’m also working with Studio Gumani, an illustrator and tattoo artist from India – we’ll be showing our work at National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore.
Q You’ve created various music videos – how have you found that process compares with still photography, and which artists you’d really love to collaborate with?
A It was something I always wanted to try – the idea of my images coming alive was so exciting. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. At first it was difficult to translate my thought process into moving images but it soon came naturally. On a completely different note, I grew up watching Bollywood and would love to work in the industry. It’s something about India that attracts me; the fabrics, smoke and colours. I recently worked on a music video with the talented musician Gaze Is Ghost which was very exciting as the music fits my work perfectly. I’d love to work with local artist Alicia Catling too, she has a majestic voice.
Q What do you see as your greatest achievement so far?
A Having my work published all over the world and receiving such lovely emails from people. I had one recently from an art student in Russia who said she was writing about my work because I was a huge inspiration to her. It’s the little things that go a long way. Last year I held my first exhibit in India, Bangalore. The show was very special to me. I filled the gallery with incense smoke and candlelight, it was extremely atmospheric!
Q Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers or visual artists?
A Remain a mystery and never give away your secrets. I still don’t give much detail about my thought process or how work was created. Mainly because a great thing about my work is that everyone sees different, personal things in my images. I take great pleasure in hearing different perspectives, it opens up a window to a person’s soul.
Q What are your future ambitions?
A To keep creating work people appreciate and show a younger audience that anything is possible. I’m working on getting my work published into a coffee table book, and it’d be great to work with fashion labels – I like glossy fashion spreads with a difference. Later I’d love to set up art programmes in India, giving younger people who don’t have the opportunity to get an education a voice and a chance to explore their creative sides.