Originally from Kolkata (aka Calcutta), Pallavi is now based in the UK and is a family, newborn, corporate events and personal branding photographer. Here she writes about how she has found herself in a creative rut from time to time and using her images of home, how she's gotten herself out of it...
I was in a creative rut in 2019. Every spare minute was spent building my photography business and looking after my increasingly challenging 1 yr old and 7 yr old boys. And then, I went to my hometown Calcutta, India for our annual visit to meet our families. Being there is like alternating between Christmas and Thanksgiving each day! There's so much to do and so many people to meet. It's busy to say the least.
How wrong was I! One day, in my quest to get away from it all - I created. I captured images which first of all satisfied my photographer's soul. And it didn't stop there...two of these images were shortlisted to be exhibited at the prestigious Phlock Conference. I'm so pleased to share these images here.
Fast forward to 2020/21, I found myself in yet another rut! I had taken this space for granted - just as I had taken Calcutta. Amongst the cleaning, cooking and round the clock childcare, I felt I didn't have it in me to 'create'. How could I be creative within these same four walls day after day? But it was also true that in the soul defying demands of parenting and motherhood I was losing it... one mini-cell at a time.
I wanted the negativity to stop. Hence, I shook myself mentally and turned to photography – the one thing that helped me retain my sanity! I drew upon my learnings from what inspired me to push myself in Calcutta. I used them to push myself yet again, to capture my home... my family... my boys and create like never before.
Here are some of the things I learned...
1. We all need a spark of inspiration
In my Calcutta images, I went to a flower market. I had seen this location in an obscure newspaper article about how this is the biggest market in Asia. I was just drawn to it and knew that I really wanted to go here and create. That was my spark.
Right now, I go on social media with single minded focus of being inspired rather than let others' work question me or my creativity. Everyone has the same challenge as me. Everyone is stuck at home. How are they interpreting this challenge? I took others’ interpretations to fuel my own creativity.
2. Knowledge of one's comfort zone is an important starting point
What is it that YOU like? You can call it voice - you can call it vision... we have all the time to ponder over it.
I realized that I liked good composition and drama in my images... light! Any light really! And this list continues to grow as I get to know my work more.
If you've never thought about what you like - when has there been a better opportunity to think and ponder about your own art?
Its important to think about this and start here.
3. Stepping out of that comfort zone
Once you know your comfort zone, its important to knowingly step out of the zone… and experiment.
I realized that I might never get this time back to invest in myself... my craft... and this knowledge really gave me wings.
Out of focus and free-lensed images have drawn me from the beginning but I have always been scared or unhappy with my results. I am practicing a lot of these now and learning to love some of them :) Multiple exposures and self portraits - I'm coming for you next!
4. Persevere and be patient
I waited for few years to go to this spot in Calcutta. There was never a perfect time - till the time it actually happened.
From the vision to the perfect click, it might not happen in the first try. But it's important to keep at it. The beauty of now is that one day is not much different from the next! So if it hasn't happened today... it might happen tomorrow... or the day after that...
5. Give yourself some grace
I believe, life for us Mums has changed the most - whether we are working or staying at home... whether we are a single parent or with a partner - in a majority of cases women have taken the lead to shoulder childcare and household responsibilities. It's definitely a rewarding job but physically demanding and never-ending. On top of that if we are creating and successfully keeping our spark alive - then we deserve kudos just for that!
And a few more details...
You can find Pallavi here: