Through my lens: Simrah Farrukh on creating work that is rooted in femininity, community, and belonging

The American- Pakistani artist uses her craft to create a sanctuary of authenticity, characterised by inclusivity, femininity, lush landscapes, and warm tones.

Through my lens: Simrah Farrukh on creating work that is rooted in femininity, community, and belonging

Lights, camera, and moments! American-Pakistani photographer and artist, Simrah Farrukh shuttles between Los Angeles and San Francisco and creates work that is rooted in femininity, community, and belonging. The 26-year-old had her first solo show titled The Brown Gaze in 2019.

Simrah Farrukh

My photography journey began as a quest to craft my utopian world...

One characterised by inclusivity, femininity, lush landscapes, and warm tones—a sanctuary where everyone feels empowered to express their authentic selves. For me, the essence of being a photographer lies in the freedom to create and manifest visions that resonate deeply with my soul. Whether it is capturing quiet confidence or cultivating a safe space for self-expression, photography allows me to curate narratives that embody the essence of my utopia.

A good photograph is one that captures the feeling of pure satisfaction, irrespective of external opinions or critiques...

As the artist behind the lens, I understand the intricate technicalities and emotions that go into crafting each image. Whether or not others perceive it as my strongest work is inconsequential; what matters is the profound connection I feel with the photograph and the joy it brings. 

I stay true to my art by remaining steadfastly focused on my journey and artistic vision...

Instead of comparing myself to others or succumbing to trends, I prioritise authenticity and introspection, ensuring that every creative decision resonates deeply with my inner truth. Ultimately, what sets me apart is not conformity to external standards but rather the unwavering commitment to staying true to my authentic self.

Photograph: Simrah Farrukh

True freedom encompasses the collective liberation of all people...

This ethos transcends individual boundaries and embraces the interconnectedness of humanity, and entails dismantling oppressive systems and societal expectations, ensuring equal opportunities and rights for all individuals regardless of gender, race, or background. In my photography, the essence of freedom permeates through intentional compositions and environments that empower my subjects to embrace their authenticity fully. Whether it is the confident posture of my collaborators or the gentle caress of sunlight on their faces, each image radiates a sense of liberation and self-assurance.

I embrace the boundless opportunities to connect with communities across the globe, transcending geographical boundaries and cultural barriers...

My wildest vision involves creating a series of photographs featuring a diverse group of South Asian women from different corners of the world, united by their shared experiences of womanhood and sisterhood. Through vibrant colours, warm tones, and a celebration of cultural diversity, these images exude a palpable sense of liberation and empowerment, inspiring viewers to embrace their own unique identities and narratives.

Image credits: Simrah Farrukh

This article originally appeared in Cosmopolitan India Magazine's May-June 2024 print issue.

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