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Life, as they live it: Faces of Jammu & Kashmir

Photographer Kunal Kelkar’s project, Faces of Jammu & Kashmir, aims at capturing diverse expressions of people from the strife-torn state to show that there is more to their lives than just conflict

Q. Could you throw light on this project?
A. This project — where I have captured faces of local Kashmiri people — is part of a bigger project that involves me clicking faces of people belonging to different cultures across the world. The aim was to show the locals of the state in a different light. Everyone thinks Kashmir is a region that is always consumed by war and the people there are always unhappy or depressed due to this. Capturing the expressions of the locals as they went about their daily routine was the main aim of this project, so as to show others that it is not always pain that is depicted on the faces of the locals.

Jammu and Kashmir people

Jammu and Kashmir people

Kunal Kelkar Photographer

Q. What was the focus of the images? What locales did you travel to, for this project?
A. The focus of the images was the faces of the local people in their natural habitat. These images were clicked in the areas of Baltal and Sonmarg.

Jammu and Kashmir people

Jammu and Kashmir people

Jammu and Kashmir people

Q. What sort of challenges did you face, considering the intermittent tension in that region?
A. It was very easy to capture these images. The locals were very cooperative and camera-friendly. There was barely any tension felt around the area I was in, and after talking to the locals, they, on their own revealed that the media makes the tension out to be more than what it actually is.

Jammu and Kashmir people

Jammu and Kashmir people

Q. Do you think you’ve been able to successfully complete what you set out to achieve with this project?
A. A photograph is a moment frozen in time and these moments become rare based on how great the photo is along with the time and setting it was taken in. Through a photograph, one can cherish that rare memory over and over again.

Jammu and Kashmir people

To view the entire series:
Log on to: www.facebook.com /KelkarPhotography

About the photographer

Kunal Kelkar was born in Mumbai but grew up in the UK. He went to the University of Montana, US, to study Molecular and Cell Biology before giving that up for his passion — photography. At heart, Kelkar says, he is a wildlife photographer, but at present, he professionally focusses on automobile, fashion and wedding photography.

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