Saturday Aug 13, 2022
Saturday Aug 13, 2022

Jyoti Shrestha: Journey of a photographer

Challenging the existing patriarchal norms, she has organised workshops on 'Knowing Self', 'Gender Fluidity', and 'Menstruation and Photography'


Nepalnews
2022 Apr 11, 11:08,
Jyoti Shrestha. Photo: Facebook

A mass communication student, Jyoti Shrestha, as a part of her subject degree, had to study photojournalism in 2013. She started photography but not on a regular basis. Being fascinated by colours, Shrestha enjoyed experimenting with one. Before photography, she was into arts and used to make mandalas, doodles, and abstract paintings.

“As I liked playing with colours, I was captivated by the thought of capturing those colours through photography and I was driven by it ever since”, she adds. Her interest in photography came as no surprise to her parents. She grew up watching her father designing coins and prostheses, and her mother making handmade garments.

“One day my father approached me to let him know if I wanted a camera, and that he would get one for me”, she adds further. Her cousins used to mock her and there were many who did not believe in her, but her closest friends did. So, none of it mattered to her.



This is my personal favorite! I was looking around for a narrative and noticed how my brother had so many feminine traits. I loved how happy he used to pose like this but I recognized that a few years later, he'd become a "man" molded by our patriarchal society. He was 13 at the time, and he is now 16, and he no longer poses in this way. Photo: Jyoti Shrestha
This is my personal favorite! I was looking around for a narrative and noticed how my brother had so many feminine traits. I loved how happy he used to pose like this but I recognized that a few years later, he'd become a "man" molded by our patriarchal society. He was 13 at the time, and he is now 16, and he no longer poses in this way. Photo: Jyoti Shrestha

According to Shrestha, "The reason this is my favorite is that we all behave/ act the way we want until someone comes and tells us to behave based on our assigned gender. I’m a queer and this photograph for me is a reminder to be myself no matter what, and a motivation to continue photography." 

Being interested in art, street and event photography, she notices things that most people don’t. Such as; shoes thrown in the streets, abandoned chairs, old walls, as well as other random street objects. She once walked the Tribhuwan highway for 2 hours and clicked pictures of more than 200 shoes.

According to her, “These random objects are always around, but no one observes them or has the time to notice their existence. I like capturing them in the most artistic way possible; it feels like capturing a lost thing.” She also enjoys photographing gigs/events. Though it’s impossible to hear the sound in a photograph, you can always capture the vibe.

Antoine d Agata, Kishor Kayastha, Avani Rai, Prajwal Bhattarai, Sabrina Dangol, Rabik Upadhyaya, Pramin Manandhar, Sambhav Ratna Upadhayaya, Sagar Chettri, Prasit Sthapit, Navesh Chitrakar, Gaurab Thapa, Niri Shrestha, and Eric C Shrestha; her work is influenced through more than one visual medium and these bigwigs are her top influencers.


Jyoti Shrestha: Diwas told me that he put on lipstick and felt beautiful. A heterosexual man who enjoys wearing make-up, jewelry, and clothing. Photo: Jyoti Shrestha
Jyoti Shrestha: Diwas told me that he put on lipstick and felt beautiful. A heterosexual man who enjoys wearing make-up, jewelry, and clothing. Photo: Jyoti Shrestha
Photo: Jyoti Shrestha
Photo: Jyoti Shrestha

“Although the field is definitely dominated by men, I believe that female photographers, based on my experience, have equal access to the same opportunities as men”, she says. The secret to improving your photography is to enjoy the process: observe, plan, listen to your instincts, and shoot without regard for the end result.

Speaking of her achievements, Jyoti has displayed her work in exhibitions 4 times already, and her work has been recognized by various platforms like Living Magazine, The Kathmandu Post, Article19, Blue Diamond Society, Vow Media, and many more. Her team was funded by the US Embassy and Nepal Communitere with $900 to work on their artwork. She has been working closely with Kaalo 101 gallery to speak about these issues. To celebrate pride month, with Kaalo101, Shrestha recently facilitated a workshop about Self-Portrait and Self-Love.

Since 2012, she has been organising and working with events, from Nepal music festivals to Damien Rice concerts. In 2017, she has been organising Sofar Sounds Kathmandu gigs with her team. She also works for Noodle, a music company, and is an event manager at The Yellow House restaurant. She photographs a lot of bands, performers, gigs, and events. She’s an official photographer for a band called Jhilkey, and they have done a Nepal tour together.

“My point is that I get a lot of event photography opportunities and get paid the same as men because of the work I do. It all depends on the venue and organisers, but if you stand your ground, there is nothing you can't do”, she explains.

Adding further, “I am more of a visual artist than just a photographer, I love using different mediums to create unique user experiences” She recently had a photobook presented at Kaalo 101 funded by the British Council as part of the WOW queer project, which was a collaboration between writer Prabigyan and herself.

Her future plan is to be able to use different mediums to encourage reflections and unusual conversations revolving around topics and discourses on gender and the negotiation of femininity/masculinity and resulting interspaces.

Contact details:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zt.stha

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ztstha/

Women on the wall project by Mirco Galleries, Australia and Kaalo 101, Nepal (2018):

https://www.sculleydesign.com/single-post/2019/02/05/micro-galleries-nepal-2018/

Weaving Emotions funded by American Embassy (2019):

/https://americanartsincubator.org/weaving-emotions/

Published Zine book:

https://www.behance.net/gallery/101722279/MIRRORS

https://issuu.com/invisiblespaces/docs/zine_jun_final_final


READ ALSO:

mass communication photojournalist triumphs journey photographer nepal Jyoti Shrestha abstract paintings designing coins prostheses Photojournalism woman female photographers Living Magazine Article19 Blue Diamond Society Vow Media
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