I was always attracted to cameras and taking pictures. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I got to have my own. It was my cousin’s wedding and I managed to convince my father to get a digital camera. From there, I seldom spent a day away from it. I would take it everywhere with me and even at home, I would have it ready in case a pigeon or a mynah sat on the window. I never wanted to miss any moment. Given the wondrous landscape that our Vale is blessed with, I was naturally inspired to capture it the way I saw it.
In August 2010, I went away to Delhi to pursue BTech. I really didn’t want to study civil engineering but as it is said, “it has more scope in Kashmir”, I had to obey my parents. The first six months were very depressing as my Uni was located on the highway between Delhi and UP. It was chaotic and polluted and as a result, I would spend a lot of time indoors. I didn’t have my camera along and I didn’t have anything creative to do except I would watch a ton of movies and observe them closely. I begged my dad to get me a new camera and after some months he agreed. Another point and shoot camera, albeit bigger and better than the last one. There wasn’t much to capture in the Uni so I would mostly take pictures of my friends and read about how cameras work. What I would look forward to was getting to spend a month in Kashmir when semesters ended.
In Kashmir, I found a diversity of subjects and the process of capturing them in my camera was a tremendously stimulating thing for me. I became obsessed with capturing every part of life in Kashmir and that’s probably why I don’t have a particular genre. I love all of it. And to be honest, I never followed any photographer’s body of work, I didn’t even know the commercial aspects of photography. Except for this one time, while browsing through facebook or something, I saw Steve McCurry’s pictures of Kashmir. Until then I’d never known who he is. Looking at his perspective and the relationship his camera and the subjects present was very inspiring. I hope I get to meet him someday.
This 15 second film about Kashmir is a must watch.
After completing BTech, I’d made up my mind to follow my passion for photography and filmmaking. Obviously, my family didn’t agree to this but I remained adamant. Our society looks down upon all forms of art and artists have to fight this mindset every day. I am grateful for this gift and I wouldn’t let it go to waste sitting behind a desk.
It’s the perfect time to share the stories of our motherland.
His Portraits are equally mesmerising
You can follow Ruman Hamdani on instagram @theotherrumii