Who said that the only function of documentary photography should be to collect the testimony of the world in which we live? We have no answer to this question, but we do have a clear example of how this is no longer the sole purpose of this photographic genre. Vaydehi Khandelwal, graduate of the Specialization Course in Documentary Photography and Reportage of the IED Madrid, chose to tell her stories by means of the fusion of artistic discourse with the documentary medium.
This Indian photographer already had her camera at hand at the age of thirteen and knew that she wanted to devote herself to photography, and has therefore directed every step towards that goal. She has a different perception of the world around her, in which images seem to come to life before her eyes.
In her final project for the IED photography specialization course, called I am very tired, she interprets the hidden stories behind the nightlife of Madrid, the city that, in her experience, never rests and is always full of life.
This project is that which the magazine India Se wanted to publish with an article and an interview with the author, in which she would recount her experience in Spain and how it influenced her in her photographic work.
But we will leave it to her to tell us about her experiences and her way of understanding photography.
Why did you decide to come to Madrid from India to study the Specialization Course in Documentary Photography and Reportage?
After years of free lancing and working on various projects I wanted to join a course which was an intensive one.. which would not only make me learn new things but would also make me unlearn and look at things from a different perspective. I knew for which I would have to give up a lot of things in India but when I read about IED Madrid introducing the Specialization Course in Documentary Photography and Reportage I just knew this was the course I wanted to do and I was ready to take a risk of leaving everything. It was also because this was a genre which I had never explored. It was something I used to keep away from and deep down I knew the best way to get over my fear would be to face it and there I was in Madrid at IED.. exploring.. learning.. and loving every bit of all that was taught.
Your "I am very tired" reportage developed during the course, is precisely about Madrid, what did the city inspire in you, in order to want to talk about it?
What inspired me about the city was the color, life, energy and happiness! Even on a normal day every one seemed to be celebrating… There was so much energy.. So much life in everything and everyone.The city gave me a certain kind of energy to make pictures all the time, to sit at a square and observe and absorb as much as i could of the city/culture. In the process I decided to search for the other side, the opposite of all this and that's how the series came about.
In what consists on the "I am tired" photographic series?
The project speaks about my interpretation of the night through traces and objects i found at various odd hours. Sometimes being very direct and sometimes making me wonder what my subject must have experienced or was going through at that very moment.Things which have been left, lost, found and captured.The idea has been to explore night through my own little experiences as i walked down the bylanes of Madrid in the dead of cold nights, keeping my title as a metaphor.
A month into Madrid I thought to myself that at some point this city would get tired. So, I went out in search of Madrid that was tired. This is how I chose the title and the images came about.
“I AM VERY TIRED” is a body of work where i have been in search of situations, actions, objects and myself.
You think photography is about the search of art in which you get deeper in each click, how do you bind documentary with art?
I think seeing the picture is the most important part of the process..of documentary or any kind of art. Be it visualising in your mind or seeing it and knowing that this is your moment to capture it. It all begins from there, because if you don't see a picture you will never be able to take that picture and will never be able to see the finished picture. I feel seeing the picture is the beginning of a story, a journey, a documentary. We all have stories around us and within, sometimes our mind captures it and sometimes our heart... It's for us to decide whether for us its art or documentary or both. For me, I think they go hand in hand.
How was your experience in the Specialization Course in Documentary Photography and Reportage?
My decision of coming to IED Madrid for this course was totally worth everything. I think in courses like these it completely depends on how much you want from it because it's not like an ordinary school where you are taught from scratch. You are expected to know a few things and that's where the fun is. It's the whole learn-unlearn process which makes you aware of so many things and about how photography is not just about taking a photograph but a lot more. From the faculty to my batch mates there was something to learn from each one of them. I wish this course was longer, it was a wonderful experience!