Living the Dream: The Life of the 'Bollywood ' Actor

Harper Collins, 2017

I began this project began in 2010, during first trip to India. It started as a simple comparing and contrasting photo-essay between the acting communities of Los Angeles and Mumbai - affectionately ‘Hollywood and Bollywood’ and now (after years of going back and forth to Mumbai) it is full fledged and unprecedented book, complete with 112 photographs and interviews from the beginning students to the biggest stars in the country and everyone in between. This is the story of many, that only few know... and one that every actor will want to own.

 

Please check it out on Amazon today!

FooT bOOk

This marked my first step into the world of 'fine art/documentary' projects. I thought it was fitting for me at the time to start with feet, A) considering I was a 'headshot' photographer (love the irony) and B) because our feet are conectted to the ground, which is always a great place to start. In thinking about an actual project that had legs (so to speak) and was bigger in scope than just photos of feet, it began to shape itself on various elements of the unseen narrative. “Who - What - Where is the story?” 

My old improv teacher/mentor Paul Sills (founder of The Second City), used to say when actors were stuck in a improvised scene, “Get out of your head and feel your Feet!”

MI MUMBAI

 

In December 2013, I returned to India to A. get married and B. start a project that I had been thinking about for the last two years, inspired by Avedon's "The West." MI MUMBAI, translates in the local language to “I am Mumbai.” The images are a combination of My Mumbai: my experience of Mumbai, my friends, my circle and the Mumbai that surrounds me. The entire project has been shot on the streets of Mumbai with a white backdrop in natural light. 

The images are my attempt to give the Mumbaikers agency against standardized modes of identification, thwarting caste and class systems, while simultaneously creating a vision of equality.

 

AMERICA 2.0

 

My newest personal project is in direct response to the politicized images of American Muslims depicted as a plagued foreign diaspora. It is about the universality of youth, as in reality, young Muslims are vivacious, earnest, informed youths eager to participate in our/their American democracy. This project is a translation through representation of what a dynamic American community should look like.

 

I shot it in my studio with only natural light, as these images are meant to invoke the timelessness of the first American portraits taken by Matthew Brady, right here in New York City. Against a neutral grey background, the vibrancy of each subject stands out in sharp relief, symbolizing clarity in the midst of post election noise. This is our young complex America, simultaneously integrated, independent, and highly networked. These images are not an attempt to bypass genuine concerns but rather harness them into the normalcy of daily life.

The Rainbow Ladies

I started this project in 2016 with my wife, Taapsi, who was in Trinidad for the entire year doing anthropological research for her PhD. on local government reform.

 

The project really took inspiration from the diversity of color that saturates the Caribbean narrative, seeping into everyday life through stories of politics, employment, family, and empowerment. Like the colors of the rainbow, the women in this project represent the sum of all parts of Trinbagonian society. Each woman is an embodiment of individual strength and resilience. She is unique because she is a product of her time and circumstance. She is also part of a whole, one of many crucial storytellers, a color in the rainbow.

 

Sewn together, the photographs make up a shared Trinbagonian legacy whose power and potency emerges only when stories converge, like rain and sunshine. Through assertions of independence, family, and security, this project pays homage to the Rainbow Ladies, the marshals of the future.

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