Everyday Icons – Women Through The Lens

In a world that often rushes past the quiet moments of strength and the everyday acts of courage, it’s essential to pause and recognize the unsung heroes among us. The women in our lives—mothers, sisters, friends, and colleagues—shape the essence of our daily experiences with their resilience, compassion, and unwavering spirit. With the vision of celebrating these extraordinary women, the Light & Life Academy (LLA) initiated a compelling campaign titled “Everyday Icons – Women Through The Lens.” This initiative not only aimed to honour the significant women in our lives but also sought to highlight the diverse narratives that contribute to the fabric of our institution and society at large.

The campaign, which unfolded on Instagram, invited participants to capture the essence of the women who’ve made an impact on their lives. The beauty of this contest lay in its inclusivity—the cheerful vegetable vendor, the diligent house help, the nurturing mother, and the protective nanny, among others, were all celebrated subjects.

From the 15th to the 29th of February, the campaign received an overwhelming response, with over 700 entries pouring in from across the country. After careful consideration, 50 entries were shortlisted based on criteria such as strong composition, good lighting, and the active engagement of the subjects with the camera. This selection process emphasised the connection between the photographer and the subject.

Each photograph tells a powerful story, highlighting the resilience and strength of women. One such image captures the Darjeeling Tibetan Self Help Center, where Tibetan refugees have made their home, dreaming of a free Tibet that remains elusive.

Another image showcases women labourers in West Bengal, working in chilli fields under the hot sun, harvesting a sea of red chillis. Over 1,000 people work in nearly 100 chilli farms in West Bengal villages, supplying local food companies with chillies. Just as chillies add spice to our lives, these hardworking women bring flavour and vitality to their families and communities.

In this image taken in West Bengal, women are seen returning home after fishing, showcasing their dedication to supporting their families beyond their daily household responsibilities. Each photograph encapsulates the strength, perseverance, and everyday struggles of women, making them a poignant tribute on Women’s Day.

While celebrating the strength and resilience of women in various walks of life, LLA also wanted to focus on those who are an indispensable part of the Light & Life Academy (LLA). It’s not an exaggeration to say that LLA simply cannot function without the women who work there. From Anuradha Iqbal, whose leadership is instrumental in running the academy, to the ‘akkas’ who ensure the campus remains spotless, and the students and staff are fed with delicious meals everyday, each woman plays a vital role in the LLA family. In recognition of their unwavering dedication, a special photoshoot was organised for all the women at LLA. This thoughtful gesture resulted in portraits that were presented to each woman as tokens of appreciation, serving as a reminder of their invaluable contribution.

The selected entries from the “Everyday Icons – Women Through The Lens” campaign were on display at Light & Life Academy from March 8th, 2024, to April 8th, 2024. This exhibition offered visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the stories of these remarkable women.

Visitors were deeply moved by the exhibition, with Yohan Stephen describing it as a wonderful experience that evoked profound love and respect for women. He expressed gratitude for such an impactful project that showcases the amazing qualities of women.

Mohan Sarangarajan shared his appreciation for the exhibition, stating that it beautifully captures the different moods and facets of a woman’s personality. He described the photographs as vivid, dramatic, thought-provoking, and endearing, highlighting the celebration of ‘womanhood’ in a picturesque manner.

Aditya summed up the sentiment of many visitors, noting that each photograph tells a unique story through its emotions, colours, frames, and moments. She found it challenging to pick a favourite, appreciating the thoughtful approach to celebrating Women’s Day through this exhibition.

Among the visitors was Harshal Surve from Mumbai, one of the winners, who visited the Academy to see his photograph on display. He expressed his delight at having his work showcased at the Academy, saying, ‘Once a dream college to study at, now having my work exhibited here is a pleasure.’

This exhibition not only honours women but also serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the strength, resilience, and beauty that women bring into our lives every day. To explore the captivating narratives of these everyday icons, one can visit LLA’s Instagram handle @lightandlifeacademy or search for the hashtag #llawomensday2024.

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