On the Specifics re: My Project in Jamalpur

A little while back, I introduced the project that I have been working on for the past year.

If you missed it, I described a bit about my time in Ahmedabad this past summer and the work that I completed while in the city.

My school also wrote about me; so you should check that out too!

In that first post, I briefly described the body of work I am curating and completing, but I thought it would be best to break up the different components of this project into separate posts.

So here goes:

Continue reading On the Specifics re: My Project in Jamalpur

On Pinterest: My first Two Boards

I have been documenting my personal history since I was seven years old. I have countless notebooks filled with my thoughts on my personhood, my relationships, the relationships of those I knew and the communities I took space in.

I wrote for years and years and as I did my interest in and reflections on community continued to develop rapidly. In high school, I started a blog (whoa).

Then, I started to feel that my words alone were not adequate, and turned to photography as a guiding passion. My dualistic interest in exploring both community and photography led me to creating my own major, visual sociology, when I began my undergraduate career at Wheaton.

The interdisciplinary nature of visual sociology has afforded me the opportunity to fully explore photography’s powerful ability to not only impact communities, but also provide a sociological lens through which to understand them.

Now, I am a senior in college, taking Introduction to New Media with Professor Josh Stenger continuing to explore these interests.

Continue reading On Pinterest: My first Two Boards

From the Eyes of Jamalpur, India: Community + Photography

In the Fall of 2014, I participated in the International Honors Program starting in New York, then going to Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dakar, Senegal and ending in Ahmedabad, India.

Soon after returning home, I realized that for many reasons, I needed to return to India; and so I applied for the Davis International Fellowship to conduct photographic research in Ahmedabad.

Though I originally intended on working in a sanitation slum on Naroda Road and a textile slum in Asarwa my connections fizzled and would have taken much more time than I had to rekindle them. After some due diligence, I learned of the Ramji Ni Chaaloi community in the Old City. It’s a special place in Jamalpur that has retained its cultural (ethnic and religious) diversity in spite of the communal violence that has plagued the state– and city for decades.

Jamalpur, India

On my first day in the community, I was introduced to five excited participants that were willing to show me how they saw their community. Arjun, Ketan, Abid, Muscan and Guddu happily took their cameras and clicked away. After a few weeks, the group blossomed and Jabir, Ashapak, Imran, Ravi and Vidhya joined in and begun sharing with me how they saw the world. During our one and a half months together, I also photographed the community. Together we captured more than 5,000 photos…

Continue reading From the Eyes of Jamalpur, India: Community + Photography

March 1, 2016: Gratuity Included

This Christmas my mom brought me a pack of 12 Moleskines for the year of 2016. Each notebook has a page per day with the lines being representative of times.

Inside Moleskine

I was really unsure of how to use them in January.

The notebook is blank.

In February, I came back to school for my last semester of my undergraduate career and I realized there was so much I needed to do and think about. I couldn’t forget all the important things, so my notebook is simply pages of lists:

Assignments I needed to do // Events I needed to attend // Graduate school interviews // Grant application deadlines // Scheduled studio shoots

And it goes on and on.

On Leap Day, the last day of February 2016, I spent the better part of my day photographing people and hearing stories about what makes them complex and nuanced.

I was told stories of resilience, strength, courage, love, and happiness. It’s a beautiful project I’m working on (I’ll tell you about it soon) and I was filled with so much love.

Then, a great friend dropped by for her slot and we caught up and talked and then ate and talked and did work and talked.

It was beautiful.

I left the studio at 7 and I came home and ate dinner with friends and we joked and laughed– our honest and true (and sort of embarrassing laughs).

Then I went upstairs to my room and as I sat preparing assignments for tomorrow and working on proofs, I received this text.

Alyssa Text

It’s now March 1st and I’m opening up a new notebook. It’s warm.

January was burgundy. It’s been left blank as I spent my time processing: a new year, a closing to a chapter of my life, new love.

February was red. It was hot. It’s filled with items that needed to be done, needed to be completed, needed to be marked off.

March is pink and it will be my month of gratitude.

Thank you Alyssa.