Anu Kumar is a Melbourne-based photographer who recently went back to her hometown of Kavi Nagar in India and started capturing her childhood home with a fresh perspective. “The days would often be quite slow and eventless so I started to accompany my aunts on their daily walks around town,” says Anu. “I took my medium format camera with me as a fun addition to the walks, and soon after I wouldn’t leave the house without it.”
While seeing the village as “unremarkable” as a child, through her lens Anu discovered a place full of charm. “Kavi Nagar is so wonderfully unpredictable. I learnt to just walk around with no aim or expectation,” she says. “In terms of people I was ‘looking out’ for, I guess I’m drawn to particular qualities. I’m especially intrigued by clothes, how an outfit it put together or layered or creased. I think it reveals so much about a person.”
Colour is also a big part of the series with dusky blues and greens setting the scene and pops of pink and red adding intrigue. “I feel like the way colour is present throughout the series helps to emphasise that sense of randomness. I also like how colour has the ability to transform an image from serious to playful,” explains Anu. “Every aspect of India is so saturated with colour, and it’s something I really admire – they’re brave with colour.”
Not only did Anu change the way she previously saw her hometown but the way she photographed also altered. “I remember when I shot with a digital camera I would often take a quick picture and run off – a bit selfish actually. But using my medium format camera forced me to slow down quite a bit, and the subjects were more involved in the process,” explains the photographer. “Initially it was quite a challenge to learn the right way to approach and communicate with different subjects. Sometimes I wouldn’t say a thing, and other times I’d have conversation.” The series is a mix of portraits and landscape shots that capture the “whimsy that fits so seamlessly into the everyday” and is a study on the homegrown beauty that often gets overlooked.
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