Arts Illustrated

May 6, 2021

Mask On! Lens On!

Meet the Chennai photographer, Roshan Siddharth who pulled a Photography 365 in and around this pandemic

Maheen Afshan. F

Tough times have fallen and as the country experiences the second wave of COVID – 19, the fear looming within us turns to terror. Terror for so many things, the rising cases, deaths, another lockdown (ongoing in some states) and of course, our mental state of mind.

Being shut within the four walls of my house, no matter how comfortable, wasn’t an easy task especially with constant anxiety of not knowing what I am going to be hit with the next day. I’m sure it was, more or less, the same for many. Yet, in these tough times, the internet came as a salvation. From artists, entertainers, photographers and so many others’ homes to our homes and from their phones to our phones, they kept us tapping on our screens.

And as I tapped, in the very beginning of the pandemic, I came across a profile in social media which had a photograph. This photography didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary and yet, all the same was pleasing to look at. Why? I don’t know…  Maybe it was because I was seeing something ordinary in an extraordinary light. Plus, it was titled, Day – 1.

I tapped on and the next day, I found a similar photograph titled, Day – 2. I don’t know the exact day my curiosity brimmed but as each day passed, I was looking forward to these images. And as his photograph reached Day – 365, I knew I had to have a chat with the man who goes by the profile Rosharth on his social media.

In conversation

Who is Roshan Siddharth?

I would like to consider myself a creative junkie of sorts. Although, work wise I have worked in marketing and advertising, creatively I wanted to dabble across all mediums I can get my hands on. While trying to figure that out life I happened to realise that writing and photography are two things that I’m comfortable working with and bring me pleasure in doing. And its an ever-evolving process: very slow but cathartic in its own way.

The pandemic sure was a motivator but was there something else which prompted you to capture photographs for 365 days?

I had quit a full-time job to pursue my own interests. Looks like the world had plans for everyone in it. And the thought of being stuck at home doing nothing brought nothing but dread. So just as the lockdown began, I was sitting on my terrace and basking in the evening sun. The light was beautiful and I was playing around with my camera. As I happened to get some good shots of my brother and myself just being, I thought why not make this an everyday thing. And here we are.

What was the goal you aimed to achieve? And, did you?

I began with absolutely no goal and just wanted to take good photos and document life, as I saw it, for a few days and be done with it. But as days went by, a goal formed itself to test my consistency and perseverance in beginning something and seeing it to completion. Alongside, I tried to learn something in the process and that, I achieved. There was give and take, not going to lie. But I did see it to 365.

During projects like these, procrastination tends to sneak up like a snake. Were you on your toes all 365 days or did you too think of slacking?

I didn’t think of slacking. I slacked. Majorly sometimes. Some days I just didn’t feel like taking photos, some days I didn’t like the photographs I took. And the result was obvious. There was nothing special about some of the photographs. But that’s okay, its not necessary to be perfect at all times. Especially while one is learning.

How would you describe this photographic project? 

I look at it as a documentation of the experiences, scenes and things that count in making what life is on and in a world that goes through so much. Light, trees, pets, books, food, sun, moon, rain, humans, the hills and the sea, everything that is a part and a parcel of the life we live.

What kind of reception did you receive?

I did receive quite some appreciation for doing this, surprisingly. Since the idea was more self-focused, I didn’t expect people to follow it or look forward to it. Many took time to message me over the photographs they liked and react to it. It was very overwhelming.

Now that you’ve successfully completed a year, would you be putting your camera to rest?

Maybe a little. But not for long or too much. I am trying to work on doing photo-series, stories and documentation. So hopefully that goes well, and I am able to get better at capturing photographs.


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