Gauri Gill

Lacchmi and Kavita

Gauri Gill
Lacchmi and Kavita, 2003
From Balika Mela
Inkjet Print, 38 x 25.3 cm
Collection Fotomuseum Winterthur, gift Gauri Gill

© Gauri Gill

b. 1970 (Chandigarh, IN), lives and works in New Delhi, IN
The work Balika Mela (2003) by Indian photographer Gauri Gill provides the viewer with a rare perspective on Indian society. Her series portrays young women, alone or in groups, whom she photographed in an improvised open-air studio at the “Balika Mela,” a fair organized for young women by the nongovernmental organization Urmul Setu Sansthan. Looking seriously into the camera, they appear reserved and somewhat stilted. One can see that they have seldom, if ever, been photographed, and that they are unaccustomed to being at the center of such attention – reflecting the status of women in India, particularly those from the lower castes. Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to her project, Gill went on to teach some of these same girls photography in workshops she was invited to conduct by Urmul Setu. Two years later, they documented the fair themselves using cameras provided through the program.