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Capturing beauty in unexpected places

Published : Apr 2, 2017, 6:10 am IST
Updated : Apr 2, 2017, 6:54 am IST

Photographer Mona Singh likes to engage with her audience by capturing hidden yet soulful visual narratives.

The Holi shower
 The Holi shower

It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument, famously said noted American photojournalist Eve Arnold. And photographer Mona Singh stands true to the aforementioned. This Dilli-wali confesses that she has a pair of eyes that constantly search for the unsearchable, but has a patient soul. A certain peacefulness overtakes her on her lone walks in order to capture images that are purely triggered by intuition and instincts. Mona, who recently completed a series on her trip to Kashmir — unlike several others who’d like to capture the breathtaking snow capped mountains and valleys — searched for hidden narratives.  Focussing her lens on the refugee children there and their angst, her powerful emotive snapshots imprison the real life stories.

Bubbles of happinessBubbles of happiness

The herd instinctThe herd instinct

“I was on my usual photowalk. But I knew that I would go back home with a gripping story — to share with my children and husband over dinner. The Kashmir series happened when I was capturing lives around Fatehpuri Masjid a few weeks ago. I came across these girls. who were refugees caught in the crossfire between the armed forces and militants, seeking refuge in the capital. Their gorgeous eyes were hiding tremendous pain behind them — humiliation, sadness and a sense of desperation that people like us cannot imagine,” says Mona, who believes that every photograph has a story waiting to be unearthed.

Rang FirangiRang Firangi


The convent-bred lenswoman who went to Miranda House University, is a mother of two, and she gives all the credit for her wide worldview to her husband, “I have travelled the world with my husband — from Brazil to Berlin. He is my driving force,” she says, adding, “He is also my mentor and the one who taught me the philosophy of trying new things and exploring the world.” American photographer Steve McCurry is one of her all-time favourites, while Henri Cartier Bresson spurs the smiling girl on, and Raghu Rai, she feels has taught her so much that she hopes to reflect his ideologies in her photographs.

Coloured countenanceColoured countenance

Behind the maskBehind the mask

The Desi cowboyThe Desi cowboy

Mona, whose images have appeared on The Better India, Wagon Art (AIFACS), Street Photography, Snapped Away (an international online exhibit), etc. asserts that each of series marks her evolution as a photographer. The WPC (B&W) online exhibits have also carried her photographs and some have also appeared in a blog for the Huffington Post UK. “The concept hits me in my guts,” she says, pointing to her inspiration — Cartier-Bresson’s “Decisive Moment”, which refers to that split second of genius and inspiration that a photographer has to capture a moment. “I feel absolutely paralysed without a camera,” she adds.

That potter boyThat potter boy

True happinessTrue happiness

Save the girl childSave the girl child

Her series on Kashmir was chosen among the best by a media organisation. Talking about her favourites, she concludes, “The image of a boy capturing the madness, the constant buzz, rush is a perfect manifestation of how a photographer sometimes sees the world. Trying to capture a millisecond of a moment and then freezing it for life.”

Tags: militants, miranda house university, snapshots