What defines you? What are you like?
Most of the times I am lucid and legally sane but I am equally attracted to the notion of losing my mind. Both come with a fair dosage of incredulity and mysticism. I surprise myself by contradicting fervently sworn understanding of what life has taught me. Perhaps life is indeed fast paced to be staunchly principled and opinionated? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am happily in harmony with people, places, nature, seasons, atoms, Ions and the likes. I can’t define myself. If you absolutely must, go ahead. Definitions for me are for the boxed, unmovable, unchangeable things that remain in a state of constant, defying time patterns. I refuse to be boxed in to a particular definition, not in defiance but simply because it wouldn’t be me.
Tell us something about your childhood and growing up years, college days.
A typical tomboy, I was lithe and sharp. Sweaty braids, broken front teeth and dark sweaty skin completed my non appearance. I was the only girl playing with a bunch of boys. I eventually realised that I had that privilege because I was an equal adversary who would not shy away from beating them at their own game. And boy I did!! Respect from then on was mutual. The girls saw me as a rebel because I didn’t confirm to their clan and that was fine with me. Trading dolls for some real action was a good prospect! Ofcourse as a result, I had very few girlfriends. Three or four to be precise and they are still my best friends!
Any special achievements? Any memorable moments or incidents?
Naturally I excelled in sports. Sports day would be crazy because, by default, my teachers would put my name in all the events and sometimes I would realise that two events were happening at the same time in different parts of the ground! So my 100 meters dash would end at 500 meters so I could take part for the Short Putt!
Since I grew up playing Cricket with the boys, it was no surprise when I was selected for the State and All Indian Universities team.
Other than that, one of my favourite memories of childhood is the sight of mum standing in front of the mirror getting ready to go to work. She’d come out of the shower, a towel wrapped around her and would sprinkle a generous amount of Ponds talcum powder on her back. I and my sis would be lying on the bed still groggy with sleep but fascinated by this morning ritual. She always seemed like ready to take on the world with a smile!
When and how did the idea to be a photographer first germinate?
A friend I was staying with in Chicago gifted me a Sony point and shoot camera for Christmas. If you managed to ignore the windy chills of minus temperatures, Chicago in December was visually a breathtaking place. I would take pictures of everything that would make me pause and ponder about it. Could be a stone, a face, a leaf, shadows on the wall, the lines on my palm…everything, anything. Ofcourse, I had been to these same places before and I probably had the same thoughts but those thoughts would either make place for another one or would stay in my head as memories and suddenly with the camera, I could carry these thoughts back with me and share it with whoever wanted to see! It was exhilarating!!! My heart would explode with joy at this revelation and I felt how it is to really fall in love. I was hooked for life.
Was it easy/difficult to make your mark in this field?
I am a daughter, a friend, a colleague, an aunt etc etc. But most people identify me as a photographer first and I am okay with it. Afterall I do think of photography as a reflection of myself and my thoughts. And, there are not separate. Frankly, I don’t think too much about making a mark. The thought, I know, is a fickle one because I am only as good as my next picture and not the one that I already have. I am never content as far as images are concerned. It bothers me often, makes me edgy and uncomfortable. It leaves a yearning of something just out of sight. Sometimes I don’t even touch my camera for days, weeks. And then I come back to it with a passion. It’s a beautiful love story me and my camera.
Any painful incidents/experiences which made you stronger as a person?
But, I am not a strong person! Atleast, not constantly! Not every second of every day of every year after year. I would be a warrior if I was. I am very ordinary actually. Even boring perhaps. Don’t mistake me I have loads of integrity and I more or less follow a worldly acceptable doctrine of principles and morals but I can very well also be vulnerable, vain, needy, fickle, stingy, lazy etc…Life is a continuous string of the ironies and contrast. All around us and within.
Any career ups and downs you would like to share?
Showcasing my first solo exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery was a great experience because there’s no better critique than the home crowd. It was learning in the sense that I lay open what was very personal to me for the world to have an opinion about. I lay bare my thoughts in imagery. To some I’d ask ‘Why’ do you like this image? If they are able to tell me what it was, I’d politely and gratefully accept the compliment else, I’d just smile and walk away.
What do your next five years look like?
I’d dare not be so presumptive.
To Know more about Anita visit her Facebook Page: Anita Anand Photography
or you can check out her website: Anita Anand
Copyright © Anita Anand Photography. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without expressed written permission of the photographer.
Please Note: The interview was curated and conducted online by Rhiti Bose for IWI.