Womenspiring Wednesdays…

Be The Change You Want To See !

Uma Dhanwatey – Photography is about capturing souls not smiles !

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After doing my Masters in Social work and working in the field of Social welfare with Childline’ India, in Mumbai, I had had enough of the taste of “reality”, as it is in India. I wanted to explore my creative side and since Photography was something that I had always been doing, I realized that I could use this opportunity to explore this medium.

I assisted Ace Photographer, FarrokhChotia and GirishMistry in Mumbai and worked on my own for a bit doing portfolios and street photography and ended up going on to US,  later to do an MA in ‘Communications from the State University of New York, Albany. Subsequently I moved to NYC to do workshops and courses in Photography from the International Center of Photography and stayed on to work with various artists in the city shooting their portfolios and books.

I am a keen watcher of people and my work is mainly related to people photography i.e. Fashion, Documentary and Portraiture. I have worked with the well-known Indian publication, ‘Times of India, and with other private clients.

Currently I am based out of Pune and travel to wherever my work takes me, including travels that I do for myself too.

The biggest challenge has been in my own head, of fighting for what I believe in. From a gender perspective, a women in India has to prove, even more than a man, that what she is fighting for is worth it. Her support system matters the most at that point and I really wish that with this awareness, women start supporting each other more since we are all in the same river of self-actualizing our potential. My personal challenge has been, of not giving up on myself, when at times I question, why am I doing what I am doing and understanding why its been such a struggle in the first place. External factor will always exist, but how can I continue my exploration in my chosen field despite of them!

Practically speaking, I have been challenged, by other women, who could be more open to newcomers and people who are not as mainstream as them or other women.

I have taken a sabbatical only to do my second masters in the US and after that I was back here to work.

I won’t say that I have overcome the challenges, but at least I can say, that I am more aware of them as being external, and not inherent in myself. Earlier I would see it as a fault in me, if I did not succeed, but now I see it as how can I work with these challenges. What are the positives of having challenges and still continuing to do what you believe in!



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