Srishti Bose is a lawyer by profession, who aspires to head the general counsel’s office. Apart from her professional career as a lawyer, Srishti has also worked as an artist, model, and a photographer for several projects.
Following is our conversation with her, about making art, choosing social media as a platform to reach out to relevant audiences and more.
Since how long have you been photographing + modelling? What got you started in the first place?
I downloaded Instagram in 2013, I think. My then new Sony Ericsson (RIP, it fell and broke) gave me a 5 mega pixel camera and an app supportive interface (I had no whatsaap before 2013)- and that was it. Sunsets, beautiful flowers and quiet colours were always beautiful to me except now I was photographing them. Over time one just hones perspective and gets better at it. I am a lot better than I used to be but there’s a long way to go.
I don’t like to call myself a model simply because I am never ‘modelling’ an idea. I am the idea. I created the concept. The beauty of the process is that it becomes a creative collaboration between the photographer and I. We are equal stakeholders in the artistic process and so at best, I am the subject of the picture. At worst, I’m an artist. (Ha!)
I first got asked to collaborate on a photography project by Farheen (a Chandigarh based photographer) in 2016. We spoke of inspirations and ideas. While places, music, and old paintings were my inspirational catalyst; she was moved by pain, and the soft intimate movements of the female anatomy. Interestingly we still haven’t shared any shots of that first shoot, although I did shoot with her twice after. One of my favourite collaborations with her is this series of black and white photographs named ‘Kaleidoscope’.
The mainstream media seems to be taken over by digital media..do you agree? How has it helped you, helped you reach to your audience, has it in any way affected the way you make art or come up with concepts?
Social media is the new medium and the traditional notions of popularity (celebrities, travel photography, etc) have transgressed onto our Instagram feeds. So it isn’t as much of a blatant ‘take over’ as it is a transition in display, and in a lot of ways that transition isn’t complete. This is where the authenticity hoax kicks in- artists on Instagram eventually notice just how consumerism and conformity is interfering with their art; and it’s almost natural to rebel against it, then document that rebellion, and then display that documentation over the very medium they are critiquing. There’s is always a community of people that will understand this ‘rebellion in expression’ within the realm of medium conformity (digital media)- that is your audience. Your audience understands the desire to walk away from mainstream media and be involved with the most obscure thing one can find. They appreciate the art, and by extension- the artist.
While I understand this phenomenon, I don’t identify with it. There never was a goal to reach an audience. My goal was to create something that grants me peace, not just in its manifestation, but also through the process of creating that beautiful picture. And that picture is beautiful out of pure personal belief. Art should exist for its own sake. Instagram is simply my medium. I call my feed an open Photobook of sorts. I’d love for people to see it but even if they didn’t, the art will exist and it will exist for its own sake.
Why have you chosen this medium of art?
Most of my art is within the realm of intimate abstraction. I have chosen this medium of art because it makes me feel something. It could spark a thought, a wave of nostalgia or a whiff of clarity. To feel, is the purpose and the medium is art.
I despise people who claim a monopoly on the term ‘artist’. As if you could define it and agree on its contours. I think every one is an artist in their own right- a computer science engineer writing code, a lawyer drafting a contract, an accountant populating a balance sheet- if it requires diligence and dedication, and you feel diligent and dedicated, it’s art.
Instagram does a very good job of enabling a community of people doing even better work. It becomes a cycle of inspirational derivatives and creations.
What are your favourite forms of art..and inspirations?
Poetry, music and the right light falling in the right place- each of these jointly and severally influence my artistic process. But in all honesty, the only reason a poem or a song or a photograph feel beautiful is because I have learnt to love. Love, more specifically the boy who sat next to me in my school bus, is my muse.
We’d love to know what goes behind the scenes, and know little about your processes.
Well, I view portrait photography as a collaborative process. There is the photographer’s vision of what I look like and then there’s my vision of who I am. Then we look for the right colours, the right background, the right light, the right expression- the outcome should be a conscious restoration of emotional order. I find that the process is enabled greater profundity when I work with a female photographer. Working with Pooja has taught me the intricacies of the female gaze and its manifestation.
After the concept creation and the shoot, there is a whole editing process which really controls the narrative of the art. Lastly, there is a writing process attached to the photograph such signifies what it stands for. Here, brevity in expression is very important to me.
Whats that you do apart from photography and whats that you aspire to do?
I work as a legal counsel. My professional aspiration is to head the general counsel’s office for the biggest innovator in the economy at the time. A company that is impacting customer behaviour on a macro economic platform will most definitely demand that the law evolve with it as welol. I’d like to command the legal thought leadership on that.
If you were to create content for a magazine or other publication, what kind of content would you like to publish?
The interplay between gender politics and law has always interested me. In law school, I wrote an academic paper about using law as an instrument of wealth redistribution between the sexes. I even published a Paper about feminist standpoints to the law on sustainable development. To me, gender studies and Law, just like art, are a lens through which I view the world and I assure you the view isn’t black and white.