An interview with Uma Bista

Uma Bista Self Portrait  Uma Bista, born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal is working as a photojournalist as well as documentary photographer with The Himalayan Times/ Annapurna Post, leading daily Newspaper in Nepal.

Uma’s first encounter with photography was when she took up a short course while she was in the 12th grade. Ever since, there was no looking back. She fell in love with this art. She had a hard time purchasing her first camera, as her parents did not agree with her and had a different dream for her. They wanted her to pursue a career in nursing. But she did not loose interest; instead she started to take more photos. She also attended many photography workshops conducted by renowned photographers such as Jodi Bieber, Frederic Lecloux, Mads Nissen, Frank Fourner and Morten Krogvold, organized by Photo Circle in Nepal and in Bangladesh.

After the entire struggle, she did eventually take up photography as a profession. Following a three-month long internship with Kantipur Publications, in 2011 she started working full-time as a photojournalist with The Himalayan Times and The Annapurna Post.

Her work has taken her places. Her images have been exhibited at “Kathmandu, Kathmandu”, “The Constant Change”, “Mega Bank Photo Exhibition”, and “Opportunity Knocks” at Chobi Mela VII in Dhaka in 2013. Her works have also been published in the books “The Constant Change” and “Nepal The Land of Contrast” and Uma’s photographs are also in digital presentation at various places.

“I love all kinds of photography. But especially I prefer documentary photography. It covers everything. I want to document people, the joy, the love, the anger, the mystery, the feelings, the humor, the sadness. I feel happy while doing this.”

Solo Exhibition

 

This young artist had her first solo exhibition at the Image-Ark Gallery under the title “UNI, SHE ” from 2nd June to 2nd July. Uma further tells us about her work – “The title “UNI, SHE ” relates to all things around us, like the river where SHE washes her sorrow, and draws the courage to flow again and again, whatever the hardships. SHE also relates to white floating clouds moving here and there, spreading love and care wherever SHE reaches. And the love SHE gives her two families, the one SHE was born into, and the one SHE marries.

In our male dominated society, HE is the subject and the leading character while SHE is taken as an object, as “the other”. Men and women are equal, because both are equally important to each other. SHE always remains silent, but it does not mean that SHE does not have dreams of her own. SHE always smiles but it does not mean SHE does not get sad.

 

Uni She

Picture 1 of 4

 

“The title itself portrays feminism, but in this project, it covers everything about women and her relation with others. I do not only focus on women. I am trying to show women and all things that revolve around her. In the exhibition I created five themes with 24 photographs, which includes a picture of man jumping in a pond – that depicts humour, women relishing water – that shows happiness. Each picture has a different message. There is portrayal of courage, happiness, fun, humour, celebration and so on.”

Currently Uma is working on a personal project about her mother. “This is my long term project. I am also documenting other women issues.”

It has been observed that while most photographers around the world travel to Nepal to live and photograph this beautiful country and its people, there aren’t as many locals who take up photography professionally, especially women photographers.

“Nepal is a photographer’s paradise. We have tremendous scope for this profession. But local photographers are few and we have even fewer female photographers in Nepal. Yes it is a challenging job. Many of my friends take it up as a hobby but they are not able to turn it to a profession.”

“I would like to tell all women that if they have the passion for it, they  must take it up not only as a hobby but as their profession.”

 

Story: Mithila Jariwala

Images: Uma Bista

 

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