Gone are the days when most professions were generally perceived to be male-dominated. Cinematography is one such field. While there have been women directors of photography for decades now, it’s time we acknowledge their presence, their craft and their accomplishments.
Last year, on March 8, in light of International Women’s Day, Western India’s Cinematographers Association (WICA) announced the formation of Indian Women’ Cinematographers Collective, IWCC. Comprising Indian women cinematographers, IWCC is dedicated to encourage, strengthen and inspire women in this field of work.
Let’s take a look at some female Bollywood cinematographers who are masters of their craft.
Priya Seth (feature image) has been the Cinematographer of various films, which include Airlift, Chef and Barah Aana. Seth has also worked as the Director of Photography of several ad films. Some of her ad films include Mountain Dew and Engage perfume. She is also famously known to have shot the film Airlift in just about 49 days.
Fowzia debuted as an independent camera person with the film, Mitr, My Friend, in 2002. Interestingly, the film had an all-female technical crew. She has worked in many Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam and international films as a DOP. Some of her films are Kucch To Hai and Uyir.
Coming to IWCCA, it is Fowzia who is behind this initiative, which is now growing extensively. “Each of us — until we connected to the other women cinematographers — experienced an isolation. Each of us is looked at as an exception. We need to change this perception. The time has come for the idea of the Collective to manifest itself now,”
Fowzia said during the IWCCA launch.
Deepti has worked as the Director of Photography for Hindi feature films like Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. She has also been a DOP for Fakir of Venice. Deepti’s works also include documentaries, one of which is Nishtha Jain’s City of Photos and Lakshmi and Me.
“This is our space to nurture and enable the one thing that can cause change and break discriminatory barriers, and that is Excellence,” said Deepti in an interview.
Savita studied cinematography at the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. She has shot some interesting films like Ram Gopal Varma’s Phoonk and Vibhu Puri’s Hawaaizaada. Savita’s work, apart from films, also includes several ad films and short films.
Archana has been an integral part of the camera department for several Hindi films like My Name Is Khan and Gulaab Gang. She recently won the Maharashtra State Award for Best Cinematographer. This was for the film Idak. She has even worked as the cinematographer for the Marathi sci-fi film Phuntroo.
“Attitudes are changing. Most of the industry has gotten used to women cinematographers thanks to our burgeoning numbers,” Archana said in an interview.
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Feature Image: WICA