UZMA MOHSIN is an independent photographer, a graduate from the National Institute of Design. She has been the art director of Tehelka magazine for over 3 years. Several of her projects have been published in various publications including Tehelka, Sports Illustrated and Outlook Magazine.
In March 2008, Uzma was one of the 83 artists featured in ‘Click!’ an exhibition on contemporary Indian photography produced by Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi. The show ran simultaneously in London the same year. In May 2010, she assisted Martine Franck (Magnum) on a book project, ‘Women Changing India’. Her work, ‘Seven Sisters and the City’, is a documentation of the lives of young women from North-Eastern India living in Delhi, which was featured in the Northeast Peace Festival in Delhi, in November 2010. Her latest work ‘Trees Can’t Walk’ was exhibited at Forum
Schlossplatz, Aarau, Switzerland in June 2011.
“Whats dangerous is not to evolve” – Jeff Bezos
In interview with the artist who has travelled and experienced interesting phases that have finally now found her experimenting with a world of alternative photographic processes. In an explore of the visual communication channel.
Name : Uzma Mohsin
Date of Birth : 12th December 1973
Place of Birth : Alligarh (U.P)
Going back to the start. Where did you spend your childhood and schooling time?
I was born in Alligarh which is in Uttar Pradesh. I spent most of my growing years here. For about two years (Grade5/6) I went to a boarding school in Nainital. Besides this I did the rest of my schooling in Alligarh itself.
Now that the primary education was taken care of what did you do next?
I applied and got selected at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad. I pursued a graduation here where my specialization was Graphic Design. I was really very interested in Photography but we did not have a specialized course for that at N.I.D back then.
When and how were you introduced to photography?
As a kid I fancied my fathers hotshot camera. The point and shoot film camera is what we would use largely. My uncle also had a working dark room which I was completely fascinated by and this also helped take my interest in photography forward. It was my first exposure to a dark room. When I went o N.I.D my father gave me his old Minolta film camera. I began shooting and we were well equipped at our college with a good dark room and library and also a few Nikon slr cameras (film) which we were allowed to borrow and use.
After completing your graduation at N.I.D what field did you beset in?
Once I was done with my Bachelors in Graphic Design I immediately started working with Tehelka Magazine in Delhi. Tehelka comprised of a very small eclectic team of people who were always multi-tasking. I worked here at the design department. I was the Art Director for several years and hence had to come up with photography situations from an editorial point of view. This gave me a lot of exposure into different perspectives of one thing and also about how o use imagery to tell a story. I did a lot of documentation work while I was with Tehelka, news covers during the Jammu and Kashmir issue over the Amarnath shrine land transfer, the pandits of Kashmir, women boxers and also some portraits.
I worked as a visual researcher and assisted Martine Franck (Magnum) for a book project commissioned by Banque Nationale de Paris and published by Zubaan Publishers. The project focuses on highlighting the contribution and changing roles of women in India. The subjects covered in the book range from women panchayats (village councils) Leaders, women in new professions, micro-credit and women self-help groups, women in film and women leaders.
After having worked with Tehelka magazine for over 8-9 years I knew I wanted change so I just hit refresh and ventured out. Last year in 2011 I applied and got selected for an art residency in the Working group Gästeatelier Krone, Aarau, Switzerland. This was a very enriching and exciting experience. During this time i began making small books which were compilations of images from my memory bank of photographs shot over this period. i continue to make these books even now. Over time I developed a more documentary approach in my photography style. Hence, now after sufficient time given to exploring that I want to open up the pages and look to trying something new within the visual communication media.
How did you come to learn about Goa CAP ?
I was first notified about Goa CAP by a friend who knew my field of interest and thought it might be something that might catch my attention. I was completely satisfied about the idea of the residency at ALTlab 2.0 and so I applied for it.
Which is your choice of alternative photographic printing process for the period of the residency?
The Cyanotype is the process I have chosen to experiment and learn during my time at the residency.
Is there any particular reason why you have chosen the Cyanotype process?
I was initially keen on either of the three processes beside the daguerrotype which is something I have seen in a museum in Europe and couldn’t really seem to identify with the material that the image is shot on (the coated plate). Once I go back home I want to set up a dark room and then see how I can engage in learning these processes and fine tuning the craft.