After an unplanned two week delay – my final 10 days in Argentina – my photography interviews are back underway. I’m happy to feature another Foundry Photojournalism Workshop student, Indu Antony, to get things back on track.
Hailing from India, Indu Antony is ignoring social convention to chase a career in photography. Thankfully, her enthusiasm doesn’t allow her to become discouraged. Her It’s a Beautiful World “Ouside” project was recently shown in London and she’s had numerous exhibitions throughout India. Here is what she had to say.
10 Questions with Photojournalist Indu Antony:
1. I’d like to start out with that “ah” moment when you realized your life would be tied to a camera instead of a more tangible career. How did it happen?
IA: Well I always knew arts was my career from a very young age. I used to take a lot of landscape and travel pictures but I was still in the process of searching a proper medium to express myself. It was only through my project Broken Strings I knew very strongly that this is exactly what I want.
2. Is there any truth to your website bio that says your mother wanted you to marry a dentist? How has your photography career been received by family and friends?
IA: This is very true. When I was growing up the only profession which had a high respect in the society was being a physician. Soon I became a dentist. And it was very common to marry someone of the same profession. I did not marry one and still resist the pressure to do so. My family still does not accept me being a photographer. My friends are very supportive.
3. In an earlier email, you mentioned how you are going against many social norms to become a photographer in India. Tell me about that. Just how hard is it to build a career in a market where many feel you don’t belong?
IA: The social norm would be to be in a respectable profession (according to the society) and be married. So I am considered an outcaste by my family having not followed the norms. But things are changing these days and I see a lot of parents supporting their kids’ dreams. I dont think its hard to build a career if you do not worry about the market and the competition around you. Once you truly believe in your own work things will get noticed.
4. You’ve also had a number of exhibitions, including the London-based showing of your portfolio Broken Strings. Is there a single moment that stands out as a career highlight?
IA: The work I exhibited in London was Its a Beautiful World “Outside”. When my work on transgenders helped them gain jobs I was highly satisfied and it gave me immense happiness.
5. I met you at the Foundry Workshop in Buenos Aires. How was the workshop experience and how much did you learn in such a short time?
IA: The workshop helped a lot. I would like to say it really shaped me to see things unseen and why they were seen. It was my first workshop experience and I gained a lot from this one week. It was great to meet a lot of other photographers from other parts of the world and share a common interest. Great energy!
6. While at Foundry, few students were as eager to show their portfolios than you. What do you learn from a portfolio review and how much weight do you put into the reviewers criticisms/comments?
IA: I am quite lucky that I got the chance to review my work with the great photographers. Photography kind of makes one live in their cocoon and be blinded by many things. These reviews helped me look at my work from various angles.
7. What is the single piece of photography advice you wish you’d learned earlier?
8. What three photographers provide your greatest source of inspiration?
IA: Every true photographer inspires me in some way or the other on a daily basis. One person who has moved me immensely is Carrie Mae Weems.
9. And finally, take this one and run with it: Why do you make photographs?
IA: hahah…Its like asking why do u breathe? I have to do it…Why? im searching….
10. Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
IA: Find your colour!
As always, I owe a major thank you to Indu Antony for taking time to answer these questions. I spent some time with Indu in Buenos Aires during the Foudry Workshop and her attitude and enthusiasm for photography radiated from her every move. Please take the time to check out her website.