Ritesh Uttamchandani talks about spending a few days viewing the rooms of sex workers through their eyes.
Some months ago, I was assigned to make photographs for a story on Sangli’s cleanest brothel. The title ‘cleanest brothel’ raises many questions in one’s head. Bandamma, the madam of the brothel, was kind enough to give me a free run of the place, and the women—some young, some old—were graciously accepting of my presence.
The assignment was humbling and broke many of my preconceptions about commercial sex workers. I photographed the only thing that these women see daily, constantly, with a million thoughts in their head, or none at all—the ceiling.
In a few houses, I used the self timer mode and wedged the camera on pillows. However, in most other houses, I lay down myself. The beds felt hard, very hard to my pampered back. Someday, I wish to go back and photograph the rest of the houses and sample more of the karanji (a sweetmeat) that one of the women gave me.
How to Tell a Story in a Strongly Individualistic Manner
- Your eye should be a reflection of your understanding and acceptance of the people.
- If you have been given a brief about a particular story, it is important that you interpret it uniquely.You need to embellish it and illustrate it in a manner better than the usual fare.
- Break a few rules, push yourself and explore all options. You might not get access every day.
To see more of Ritesh’s work, log onto http://riteshuttamchandani.photoshelter.com/