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Cindy Sasha

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Being a self-taught photographer was something I did not consider until I picked up a camera and started to explore my own memories and identity to create a visual DNA. This included looking into my own influences and relationship with popular culture and personal experiences. My ethnicity shaped my view of the world, coming from a lineage of the Tamil community which is marginalised and killed by the Sri Lankan Government. This gave me an early sense of social and political injustice. In addition, as someone being born into a working-class single parent environment in London I experienced the typical prejudice through education and social circles.

The first photograph that made me look at images differently happened when I was 15 years old. I would photograph my friends at school, and I was not familiar with the term ‘street’ or ‘documentary’ photography. I captured a street portrait of a friend who was in the eyes of the system ‘a female Holden Caulfield’. It captured our youth, which was skiving off school, smoking, and rejecting the education system. I learnt from then onwards about how an image can be someone’s identity and tell a story.

I have always turned to writers for ideas and inspiration to understand anthropology and the imagination. Much of my work is influenced by George Orwell, J.D. Salinger, Ken Kesey, Harper Lee, William Burroughs, Richard Brautigan, Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson and many more.

I use photography as a medium to explore various cultures, societies and individuals with identity as a self-interest to learn and preserve nostalgia. At the same time, my photography serves me to validate my existence in a world where my identity and my place in society were and still are a jigsaw puzzle. I want my images to open up stories through a combination of stillness, social documentary, and human moments that are inclusive and accessible for everyone, enriching our cultural landscape.

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