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FO2 Stage | Sonali Devnani

by Team FO2, 08 Jun 2023

My journey into photography started when my daughters were born. I wanted to click perfect pictures of them & soon I started developing interest in photography. I started getting projects for baby shoots, family portraits & other genres but travelling always attracted me.

I still remember my first trip as a photographer to Cambodia. It was 5AM, & I was there alone, holding my camera. I was so young & nervous that I wanted to run back home but then I held myself together, went on a walk, & never looked back since.

My family has always been my ultimate support. Sometimes it’s hard being a mother, to travel often. Sometimes I need to postpone my trips but then my family always stays by my side & gives wings to all my dreams.

During my travels, I started connecting with the locals & their stories that have driven me into portrait photography & raising social issues. While travelling, I’ve realized how drugs became such a common problem in India which is ruining the lives of people & the ones around them. It was really frustrating & I decided to use my art as a medium to raise this issue.
It is also disgusting that we need to stay alert rather than relaxed whenever we travel. I still remember once I went to Barsana to be a part of Holi celebration. After the amazing hours of beautiful Holi, we were drowned in color & decided to go back. We started walking out & I thought my friend was holding me, It might have been 10 minutes & as I looked back, it was not my friend but someone else who was pulling me away from the crowd. It took all my strength to push him away & run back. As a woman, we keep facing such issues on a daily basis, so we have to be very careful every time we step out.
Fortunately, times are changing & we can see more females out there. The numbers are less but steadily increasing.

I just want to tell all the women travelers out there "Just keep following your passion! There will be pressure & hurdles. Be confident. Dress up comfortably. Always keep in touch with the locals. Stay in good & safe places & most importantly -

Always follow whatever your heart says. Not all who wander are lost! Some find their life's purpose. More power to you girls.

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