Roshini Kumar, Photographer
Roshini Kumar is hard to miss in a crowd, but not for reasons that are immediately apparent. It is not her hair, though that definitely catches the eye. The style and confidence are also striking, though even that pales when she begins to talk. What makes Roshini stay with you is the undercurrent of steel that is hard to miss in her gaze, and impossible to forget after.
Roshini’s love affair with photography started young. In 2015, after finishing her course, she was confronted by an abundance of things she wanted to say and a lack of words to say them. “I wasn’t a talker then, in fact I was quite awkward about talking,” she admits. But she found that photos could do what words couldn’t: she decided to do a self-portrait about her insecurities: “My flaws — or what society tells me are my flaws.” The outpouring of support from girls who had never seen something so honest sealed the deal. She refuses to do commercial work if they are going to photoshop the bodies and maintains that for her, the priority is being able to sleep at night without any guilt.
Roshini’s work doesn’t shrink from difficult topics, but it does this with a gaze that is non-judgmental and enamoured with beauty. She says, “I don’t expect anyone in front of the camera to look perfect, but to instead look real.” The epitome of this belief is her shoot for cancer awareness, which Roshini rightly calls her masterpiece. For the series, she drew from her own experiences. She says that cancer robs the space for conversation because of all the fear surrounding it. She recounts, “I had my family of course but they were scared, people who came to see me were scared.” Roshini believes that her freedom came not after being cured but after the shoot, when she could dispel this fear and finally talk about the experience. For her, she found that when she needed it, she found strength she didn’t know she had. And Roshini believes this is true of everyone: “Everyone goes through shit, you just have to talk about it. We can get over anything.”