Avni Nijhawan: I Shall Call Myself Alice

@theavni in California

“How can you stick at a game when the rules keep on changing? I shall call myself Alice and play croquet with the flamingos. In Wonderland everyone cheats and love is Wonderful, isn’t it?”

— Jeanette Winterson

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I made these images all over California (Los Angeles, Berkeley, Palo Alto, San Diego, San Francisco) and India (Mumbai) with my iPhone 4S. I’ve experimented with various photo editing apps, but now most commonly use the native iOS camera app to shoot, and Oggl and Mextures to edit.

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I love the challenge of using an iPhone to create interesting pictures of people, and using a camera stuck in “auto” has forced me to pay attention to light/shadow and composition like never before.

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I owe a great deal to my mentor and professor Richard Koci Hernandez for introducing me to mobile photography and new ways of visual thinking, and whose stunning Instagram feed has been an inspiration to photographers around the world.

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Avni Nijhawan is visual journalist from the Silicon Valley with a deep interest in immersive storytelling platforms. She is currently finishing an interactive documentary about sexual violence in India, called “Fearless,” which she began shooting while earning her master’s degree at UC Berkeley. The project and was featured at the prestigious Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels (FIPA) in France in January and is expected to release in July.

Nijhawan loves experimenting with various image-making tools, which include everything from cheap film cameras to Google Glass. For Nijhawan, photography can be about preserving the small moments in one’s daily life as much as it can be about social commentary; her photo essay on a slum community in Delhi is currently being featured in the Berkeley Art Museum and recently earned the UC Berkeley Wayne F. Miller award for outstanding photojournalism.

Starting this fall, Nijhawan will be a research fellow and lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she will have the opportunity to continue experimenting in emerging storytelling platforms, including virtual and augmented reality devices.

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