Like other art forms, photography can be a means to observe, understand and interpret experiences. The genre of personal storytelling with photography is becoming a refined practice in our times as more photographers share stories personally important to them. These photographs that bear witness to seemingly ordinary moments, private and intimate spaces, capture a mood or emotions. In such photos we find an articulation of the unspoken moments.
For Rajasthan based photographer Prachi Seksaria, “photography or any other form of self expression is more like a personal need. So most of what I shoot revolves around my life experiences”. In this photo-essay, the 25-year-old photographer shares an auto-ethnographic account of staying in an all girls’ paying-guest accommodation in Delhi. In 2012 when Prachi moved to Delhi as a student, the unforeseen possibilities of being in a new situation excited her. “Everything seemed so good and new” until she reached her room. Her excitement was disrupted by the sadness of an outgoing roommate whose place she was to take. This made her wonder about the experience of living in and leaving this place that many girls like her inhabit and (temporarily) made their home. Prachi turned to photography to observe and better understand these feelings.
Through the Corridor is an observation of lives of young Indian women and their shared experience of living and negotiating independent life. Prachi photographs the everydayness in their private space. Her sensitive eye and familiarity with her subjects makes the images intimate but never intrusive. This work presents an authentic picture of the space, by subtly showcasing details that reveal something about the people who inhabit it.
Text and Photos by Prachi Seksaria
It was in the fall of 2012 that I shifted to this new PG accommodation in South Delhi. As I walked back from college, heading for my new home, I was ecstatic, soaking in all I could of the new city. Everything seemed so good and new, but soon as I entered my room, I found one of the two girls weeping on phone. She was upset that I was taking her place even before she had actually left. I felt guilty, though I wasn’t sure if I was at fault. I had climbed up the stairs to the third floor, knocked on the door of my room and entered. There were two girls, one of whose place I was to take in the room. Sensing some tension in the room I had thought it best to spend some time in the balcony. On returning after a while I had found the girl weeping loudly on the phone, saying how unfair it was to have someone else take her place on the night before she left! I was taken aback and felt guilty, though I had no clue of the situation before.
Later, I would be reminded of this incident each time someone left the place (which happened every few weeks) and a new person came in. In a place with so much movement I found myself detached and alone. Even after six months of my stay, I still felt I was living among strangers.
I woke up one day and started taking pictures of people walking around in the corridor. And for the first time, they looked at me and smiled, and struck a conversation! And I realised that was all I needed to do in all these months. I took more pictures, explained them what I intended to do and slowly ventured into their rooms.
In every girl whose picture I took, I looked for similar feelings as my own. I found them in a few. As days passed, this project became my reason to stay in that place.
This is a story of my feelings, seen in the faces of others.
About the author: Prachi studied Arts formally and dabbled in painting and writing before photography. After working as a photojournalist for a brief period of time, Prachi decided to make photographs inspired from her daily observations, readings and writings.
Prachi looks after communications and marketing at Photojaanic