The Right Angle
Me, to anyone who’s ever taken my picture, “can I stand on this side? Cause that’s my right angle.”
Before you start to think this is going to be some sob story about how I’ve overcome some traumatic experiences of bullying of some kind, let me stop you right there. This is a happy post. A post about how like every other girl, I too have my share of insecure moments, and how I’ve learnt to love myself because of things that I once thought were imperfections, not in spite of them.
Growing up as a chubby tomboy with acne prone skin and a hairy body wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Puberty was tough and boys were mean. Even though I absolutely love what I do, being in a line of work that requires you to put yourself out there every single day in a world full of keyboard warriors can get pretty brutal.
“You look old” “Is this supposed to be pretty?” “Cellulite!!!” “Thunder thighs!” “Fake!” is now casual reading for me.
Don’t get me wrong, for every negative comment out there, I’ve received twice as much love from my followers. That’s what’s given me the confidence and encouragement to overcome my insecurities to a great extent. I was a shy and self-conscious girl all my life, and it’s been my career choice that’s made me secure enough to block out the hate and own it. It’s given me a platform to express myself in so many ways, and today, it’s let me draw inspiration from my body insecurities, show them for what they are, no makeup, no photoshop, nothing.
Nikhil (creative director and stylist for this project) and I go way back. He was always that kind of student in college who would start working on a submission one night before, show up on the day with the best work in class, and leave us all dumbstruck.
Even today, he’s one of the most creative people I know. He has that ability to see the beauty in things no one else can and create something amazing out of literally nothing. Which is why when I thought of the idea, I knew I had to work with him. Collaborating with him on this shoot was as effortless as it was back in college 12 years ago. He took my initial idea and envisioned it better than I ever could. He took the lead in creating exactly what he imagined, right from the idea of not re-touching the pictures, to no makeup and tying my hair to a string, he really got me out of my comfort zone for this one.
I have driven to college with Shereen for two years and we always fooled around in class shooting each other for the strange projects we made, so it was nice to come back and be working together on this. We treated it just like things back in college, simple and natural without trying too hard.
It felt almost natural to work with her insecurities about her body, I like odd things about models and people, so I thought highlighting these could be an exciting concept for me, and a challenge for Shereen to look at them as assets going forward. I always think your most peculiar feature is your best one. So, her longish nose has no better angle to be shot in but in full profile where you see the length and shape of it. Clearly, that’s what makes it special, it’s not like anyone else’s.
I wanted the pictures to not be edited at all, with full focus on these parts that she usually hides. We went with this soft natural light and styled her in these nice dusty colors from Indian designers; Lovebirds, Pero, Shift, Payal Khandwala, Amit Aggarwal and Runaway bicycle.
I realized while shooting with her, she’s still the same funny, kind of shy and strange girl. All the things I liked about her. Only difference is, now she’s married and runs a successful blogging empire, still loves pink and wants to invent pink cigarettes.
Styling and creative direction by Nikhil D.
Photography by Vijit Gupta
Beauty direction by Seher Ahmed
Fashion Assitant- Yvonne Monteiro and Prateek Kumar