Find Out Why These 20 Photographs Sent By Our Readers Are Truly Representative Of Indian Women #BeyondTheDoors

Posted: May 16, 2017
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This Beyond The Doors contest conducted by Women’s Web is all about capturing the life of women in India outside the home.

Women are out at work on the streets, going to work, often working on the street as hawkers, hanging out with friends, going to the park, just….being…ourselves. Women will not be confined! Whether for work or fun, we will own the streets. This popular contest first happened two years ago, and you can see some of the best entries here.

This year’s contest saw close to 200 entries across varied themes. The photographs captured women breaking stereotypes, going beyond their comfort zone to care for their families, excelling in their jobs and also finding happiness in adventures, friends and just being themselves.

The winning entries were hand-picked by Dr. Shilpa Phalke and Prasad NP.

Dr. Shilpa Phalke is an Assistant Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and Chairperson for the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Culture, School of Media and Cultural Studies. She co-authored the inspiring book, Why Loiter? which encourages women to treat public spaces as their due and own the roads.

Prasad NP: Prasad has decades of experience in start-ups as well as well-established global companies where he headed India Operations. As the itch to click got stronger he decided to switch to photography and writing. Prasad refuses to be labeled and clicks people, wildlife and travel pictures with equal passion. He celebrates wanderlust on his travel blog desiTraveler and besides mentoring startups on strategy, he serves as Chief Evangelist for Darter Photography.

Here are the top 20 entries.

1. Nothing can dim the light that shines from within

1-premnath

Photographer: Premnath Thirumalaisamy took this photo at Kodiyakarai, Tamil Nadu.
This photo won the first prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest.

Premnath has captured this beauty and innocence at Point Calimere, Kodiyakarai. When asked to photograph, the lady shyly had requested to include her dog too. The strength born of labor is clearly evident in the picture. The judges were impressed by how the woman has been framed as a center of the landscape.

2. Unapologetically herself

2-rashmi

Photographer: Rashmi Pujar took this photo at Jaisalmer fort, Rajasthan.
This photo won the second prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest.

Rashmi Pujar says, “The photographed Gypsy couple were selling trinkets by the walls of Jaisalmer fort with the woman largely being in charge. I was struck by her body language and the very evident role reversal that I saw. It captured the true essence of womanhood, being unapologetically herself.”

Indeed there is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself.

3. Strong Women : Let’s know them, be them & raise them

3-mamta

Photographer: Mamta Kalambe took this photo at Rumsu, a small village in Rajasthan
This photo won the third prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest.

Mamta Kalambe took this shot, during a trek. She describes her awe about these women, saying, “Huffing and puffing, I stopped midway to catch my breath and that’s when I noticed these two women walking with heavy logs of wood on their backs. No sign of tiredness on their faces “.

4. Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet

4-ranita

Photographer: Ranita Sengupta took this photo along Western Ghats, near Pune
This photo won the third prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

Ranita says, “Even though she had to cover a long distance to reach home, the lady with the red umbrella, stopped for a short break, trying to catch a glimpse of an unknown singing bird.” The judges loved this image as it evocative of travel, but also the time to stop and stare.

5. Serene Women

5-uma
Photographer: Uma Krishnamoorty took this photo in Mumbai
This photo won a Participation Prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

The varied expressions and a sense of peace these women emanate is a source of strength and a Pandora’s box of stories, if we took time to watch and listen. Dr. Shilpa loved this picture with the older women sitting out there suggesting ‘time pass,’ truly loitering.

6. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing

6-namita

Photographer: Namita Kulkarniy took this photo in Bir, Himachal Pradesh
This photo won a Participation Prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

Namitha took this photo during a trekking experience in Bir. She describes it as follows: “I met these girls during a hike along a rocky trial in Bir. Amid all the excited shrieking and screaming and jumping in those cold waters, I marveled at how unreal and life-affirming it felt – that a group of women could enjoy this level of freedom in a public space in a deeply patriarchal country like ours. Not a soul around to diminish or control or impede them while they seized the day!”

7. The Eternal Provider

7-hemlata

Photographer: Hemlata Sadhanu took this photo in Punjab
This photo won a Participation Prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

She says, “This photograph was clicked in Hawel Chang village, Hoshiarpur, Punjab. The woman in the picture is my mother. She dedicates her time to taking care of all her family needs. In fact, she believes that her family not only includes her husband and children but also the cattle. She extends equal care to all and enjoys every aspect of it thoroughly.”

8. Mistress of Spices

8-nidhi

Photographer: Nidhi Sethi took this photo at Chandni Chowk, Delhi
This photo won a  Participation Prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

This colourful image of the woman engrossed in her spices is so sharp, that you can almost smell them yourselves. After all, aren’t women are made up of sugar spice and everything nice?

9. Smile – The best Makeup

9-sohini

Photographer: Sohini Biswas took this photo in Sunderban, near Satjelia island
This photo won a Participation Prize in #BeyondTheDoors photography contest

The effortless smile of this woman, while balancing the heavy weight is quite a reassuring image of the strength of a woman.

10. You Go! Girls

10-usha
Photographer: Usha B N took this photo in Davangere, Karnataka

Usha spotted these two young traffic cops at Davangere town off to their duty. She adds that it was an absolute delight for her to see these young girls manning the traffic at the central area of Davangere

11. Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane

11-parul

Photographer: Parul Thakur took this photo in Bangalore, Karnataka

Parul took this picture at the Bangalore’s Art Carnival at the MG Road in September 2016. Parul says this picture portrays interest and focus, and the eyes of the Tiger represent strength, and the fact that women are more than what they think they are capable of.

12. Goddess in waiting

12-shweta

Photographer: Shweta Vernekar took this photo in Pune

This photo was taken at a festival cum exhibition of Maharashtra’s tribal art and wares called ‘Bhimthadi’, which happened in Pune. According to Shwetha, this picture catches the rawness of the young girl, ironically dressed and destined to play the Goddess in the dance and is waiting for her part to come. I think all of us out there are but this – waiting for opportunities to be great, to make our entries when in reality we are goddesses all along.

13. Blooming amidst the flowers

13-shoma

Photographer: Shoma Abhyankar took this photo in Thanjavur, TamilNadu

Shoma Abhyankar says that this picture of a flower seller was taken near near the Brihadeshwara temple in Thanjavur, where she sells flowers among fruit-sellers and other small shops. That small smile, while she was taking a break with a cup of chai before winding up for the day was as bright as the flowers surrounding her.

14. Torchbearers of  legacy

14-pooja
Photographer: Pooja Mandar Auti took this photo in Pune

Pooja Mandar Auti says, “This picture really touched me, as when I asked the little girl what she wanted to become when she grew older, she replied that she wanted to carry forward her family business of being a coppersmith. There used to be a big lane named Tamabat Aali, famous for coppersmiths. But over a period of time due to modernization, demand has decreased and now there are hardly any families left who are in this business! Hats off to this little girl who wanted to take the family legacy forward.”

15. Colors of Passion

15-neha

Photographer: Neha Chamaria took this photo in Kolkata

This #BeyondTheDoors shot is taken by Neha Chamaria. She says, “This photo was taken at a local handicrafts fair in Kolkata. Oblivious to the world, she pursues her passion.”

16. Independence at Midnight

16-rutika

Photographer: Rutika Yeolekar took this photo in Mumbai

This picture was taken at Shivaji Park police station, Dadar, Mumbai. Takes us back to Gandhiji’s quote: “The day a woman can walk freely at midnight on the roads, that day we can say that India achieved independence”.

17. The Cool Granny

17-pooja

Photographer: Pooja Sharma took this photo in Jammu & Kashmir

Pooja Sharma has taken this shot at Dhar Lama Chung Monastery, during a visit to Leh-Ladhak.. The devil may care attitude is after all not just an asset belonging to youngsters.

18. HeforShe

18-rituparna

Photographer: Rituparna Patgiri took this photo in Udaipur,Rajastan

Rituparna Patgiri says, “This photo was taken in Shilpgram, Udaipur and shows how women can break barriers if given the opportunity and support.”

19. Women Rebel

19-anam

Photographer: Anam Mitra took this photo in New Delhi.

This #BeyondTheDoors shot is taken by Anam Mitra approximately a year ago near Jantar Mantar, New Delhi during the protests against the state crackdown in JNU.

20. Friends : The family we choose

20-priyanka

Photographer: Priyanka Kumari

Priyanka Kumari says, “This image captures life at college — endless chit chat, effortless banter and never ending laughter. Recipe for a good and happy life and reasons to smile and celebrate womanhood.”

Header image source: shutterstock

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