Q. Where are you from, and if you don’t mind how old you are?
A. I live in India, but I am actually originally from the United States. I was born in Boulder, Colorado, grew up in Connecticut, and studied in Burlington, Vermont. I have been living in India for the past 5 years. I am 28 years old.
Q. What made you decide to participate in this competition?
A. I have always been extremely interested in photography, especially photography that carries a social or deeply humanistic message. I continuously take photos across India, which is, in my eyes, an artist’s heaven. As I was completing my postgraduate Sociology work in July of 2011, I received an email from Colors of Life and Every Child Matters with information on the photo competition. For some reason, this email affected me and I thought, I have to do this contest. I have many photos of children that could portray this message. After various interruptions in between, and just barely meeting the deadline, I finally submitted my photo having a weird feeling that this email came to me for a reason.
Q. Any advice for young people?
A. My advice to young people would be to reach out to their real interests despite external barriers, because in the end, if people hold tightly to the path of their dreams, they will eventually live a reality that was created in their minds. Today’s youth should not be afraid of who they are, and what they want to do in this world, and they should always move confidently in the direction of their goals. I believe this type of attitude and behavior leads to the greatest success, and should be celebrated by the people who harness this power, as it is the most important journey towards happiness and personal accomplishment. In regards to young photographers, I feel the greatest advice would be to work hard enough in their endeavors and concentrations, so that one day they arrive in the place where they dream of taking photographs.
Q. How does it feel to get this prestigious recognition?
A. I am thrilled about my photo being a finalist in the Colors of Life Photo Contest, and I am extremely excited that my photo will be a part of the World Bank Law, Justice and Development week. I am very honored to be a small part of these causes, as I am extremely passionate about social projects, causes and missions that assist disadvantaged people around the world. Most of all, I am very excited that my photo will be looked upon by others and will hopefully allow a certain degree of overlooked reality to be uncovered and pondered upon, resulting in awareness.
Q. Any reflection on how photography makes you feel, and the message that people should take from your photo?
A. Photography is an amazing artistic tool that allows people to express their emotions through their eyes. To me, photography has the ability to produce invisible words, which scream justice for the oppressed. The photos that I take of people, situations, activities or places that strike a unique interest in me, allow me to produce a tangible image of the intangible missions in my heart and mind. In that regards, the photo in this competition should hopefully leave people with a certain degree of perspective where they might say to themselves, “Oh wow, some children in parts of the world grow up in such dilapidated conditions, and yet they still strive”. Or it may provide a certain awareness to people in the world who recently heard that India is a “world power” and highly developed, when actually the definition of the word “development” needs to come into question. I would be very happy if a message about unparalleled human realities across the globe, are addressed through this image.