Thursday, August 18 2016, 01:08:37
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Lavanya Bahuguna


Art Photographer Jagrati Marwaha To JWB: “I See Stretchmarks As Fireworks”

  • JWB Post
  •  August 2, 2016


Everybody I know recognizes my love for flowers. Be it a blossoming garden during an April spring or floral motifs decorating your wardrobe from the spring collection, I worship them all.

Honestly, I hunt for artists with their work revolving around flowers, or even better, nature.

Earthen tones are my colors, and when monochrome plays an impressive cameo in the scenario, I call it Jagrati Marwaha. Hold your horses, it’s not a color palette that Pantone has recently invented. Jagrati is a Gurgaon-based art Photographer who’s of late earned herself a fangirl.

Jagrati’s best work compiles portraits adorned with flowers. She not only captures women’s beauty in the most picturesque way but also writes poems for them. One such verse has stuck with me forever – “she never blossomed like the other girls, but she was art. And that lasts forever.”

What a brilliant description!

Below are the excerpts from my conversation with the artist talking about her daring boudoir shoots and commitment to flowers.

Me: Why are flowers so dominant in your work? It’s not a complaint; I am a fellow flower lover.

Jagrati: *smiles* I love flowers so much I preserve them. You open my books and clothes rack, and all you will find in there are flowers. The touch of nature is important to me.

Me: Talk about this unique relationship in detail.

Jagrati: When I was in school, I used to consider myself ‘not the prettiest one’. I wanted to be photogenic like other girls. So I began taking self-portraits. Later, I did semi-nude incorporated with nature’s elements. This kind of photography also helped me realize that the language of our skin and bones weave perfect visuals for my poems. For me, there nothing purer than the bare human skin. It tells you a truth.

Me: What truth?

Jagrati: That you are beautiful, no matter what.

Me: You have taken pictures of stretch marks on women’s bodies. What do you find attractive about them?

Jagrati: Stretchmarks are raw. They are like the fireworks carved on your skin. This is something that my muse Radha Gautam once said to me. Sigh.

Me: What a beautiful thing to say. Is your work also about body-positivity?

Jagrati: Absolutely!

Me: Another art piece that I admire shows some girls standing against a background that looks old and…umm…traditional. This composition is intriguing.

Jagrati: The girls in the picture are my friends who I enrolled for the project for few days. Every day, we would take to the Hauz Khas village’s streets to capture the life there. On the last day, this particular shot emerged very naturally. Few men in baniyaan and lungi, as you can see, are relaxing at the back. Standing in front of them are my fashionable girls appearing to be from the early 90s. I didn’t plan this frame, and I have to say, it was one of the best.

Me: When did Boudoir shoots begin to happen?

Jagrati: My focus is rather bare skin. For me, it’s canvas. I don’t let this sight get distracted with other objects in the background. When someone poses for me, I make sure natural tones surround the model.

Me: Do your subjects hesitate while posing nude?

Jagrati: Photographers have no gender. I, for one, won’t judge you for the kind of body you have.

Me: Sadly, women judge themselves. What is one thing, according to you, women shouldn’t feel shameful about?

Jagrati: The Past. Also, they must be more open about their sexual preferences. I wish every mother must teach her daughter about femininity and allow her daughter to explore her sexuality. I still bug my mom, you see!

Me: What have you been dreaming about lately?

Jagrati: I want to capture my mom’s beauty through my lens. I want to capture her bodily excellence lying amidst flowers, covered with flowers. Maybe, somewhere in the mountains. We’re planning a small trip to North India, just two of us. We’re going to find a forest full of flowers. I can’t wait!

Me: This sounds beautiful. Tell me, why your mother?

Jagrati: Women, after they give birth, are perceived very differently. They are only known as mothers. They forget to embrace their feminine side. For example – they don’t want to dress up anymore; they don’t want to stay in shape or go for vacations. My mom is 44 and sensual. She is the best model I can think of for this project.

Me: Do you get criticized for your work?

Jagrati: Not yet. I think people who follow my work are just like me.

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