Photographer, AAMINA NIZAR
“I don’t usually hire girls. In fact I have never had a female assistant in the 25 years of my career,” says Ian Perera, one of India’s finest industrial photographers.
He continued, “But i really do need an assistant now. The bags are heavy and work goes on till late. With girls it’s difficult you know.” He looked incredulously at me wondering what to make of this fresh 22 year old college graduate from Sri Lanka with a big camera and an even bigger shawl on her head. I just stared at him making the same expression I did in the photograph above. Maybe that helped.
The next day he called me. I then started work in May 2010 as the first female assistant to Ian Pereira. Working with him made me feel like I was making a statement for all womenkind. After I left for Sri Lanka he hired another young woman. Guess girls weren’t such a bad option after all. Someone just needed to break in there first. Never thought it would be me.
I first got into photography during my A/levels. I get distracted easily and photography helped keep me occupied and focused. Especially at parties with too many people talking and loud music. My need to fidget finally led to a successful career. I have been shooting for four years now and look at photography as an extension of painting. I love colours and rarely shoot in black and white. Portraits are my forte. Travel is what I live for. Weddings and products are what I shoot now.
I started photoblogging in 2007 after I moved to Mumbai in India for my degree. That’s how my photography started getting popular. Living in India is never overrated. I travelled every moment I could and have journeyed from Kashmir to Kolkata, Jaipur to Goa. Living among such a multitude of cultures was a treat for my soul and for my camera.
I have my own team of assistants now. Several of them girls like me when I started. People had never seen wedding photographers comprising three young female photographers dressed professionally in black and running around clicking. In my initial shoots people would refer to me and my assistants affectionately as “those little girls.”
We’re all grown up now. I have assistants both girls and boys. I also teach history (my pet subject) to twelve and thirteen year olds. One day maybe I will make that documentary film. Or finish life writing a book.
In some form or the other, wherever I am, I will make beautiful pictures.
Photograph by Ahamed Nizar