Model Seema Hari and photographer Simrah Farrukh are flying the flag for South Asian inclusivity

Simrah Farrukh is a San Francisco-based photographer whose images are a reflection of the delicate, yet compelling ways in which she views the world. She is interested in the intersection of fashion, beauty, identity and community merged into a narrative, and her personal projects focus on redefining the imagery of South Asians and Muslims in fashion and art. Through an intimate lens, the 24-year-old hopes to create softness in an otherwise antagonistic world.

How would you describe your artistic energy?

Growing up, I was quiet and soft-spoken, and, for the most part, I still am. I used to see it as a weakness, but now I see strength in it. My art, therefore, is an extension and expression of who I am. My favourite photoshoots have revolved around womanhood and community. Oftentimes, my work is described as dreamy or nostalgic, and I find that my images become a safe space for viewers to just sit with and escape for a moment. During shoots, my priority is to create a safe space for the people I photograph since photography has often been used as a weapon for violence and exploitation in the past. 

How does your South Asian identity intersect with your work?

I got into photography by looking at childhood photos of my grandparents and family. There were a lot of familiar faces, but also many unfamiliar ones. I had heard stories from my grandparents about their childhood, but seeing images of where they grew up, what they wore and the places in Pakistan they explored, said a lot more. Knowing that someone—a photographer in the family to be more specific—was capturing these memories, impacted my work. South Asian poetry has also influenced my perspective of the world and the way I approach my work. The intimacy, grace and resilience of the literature have filtered into my images in storytelling.

What do you think is the role of the youth in affecting systemic change when it comes to representation in creative industries?

To me, the youth is in charge of making demands through social media. We’re often ignored and seen as hyper-sensitive, but we’re creating the future we want. So many of us constantly talk about the whole “I never saw myself in magazines or films” narrative, and we’re finally seeing it happen with today’s generation.






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