Photographer Interview: Priya Kambli

Priya Kambli‘s imagery struck me when I received an email about her solo show in the 2010 Fotofest Biennial.

There’s something so visually arresting about her collage of family photos, still lives, self portraits and classic Indian textiles. Kambli’s images are heavy with history and cultural meaning but feel accessible. There’s a (be)longing that I think we can all identify with.

D&B: Where are you from?
PK: I am originally from Mumbai, India.

D&B: How did you get started in photography – any “formal” training?
PK: I came to the States to study Graphic Design (Commercial Arts), but knew pretty early on into the major that this wasn’t the right choice for me. I took a photography class as it was a requirement for the Graphic Design major and absolutely fell in love with it.

I went on to get my MFA in photography – I initially started at University of North Texas, Denton but finished my Masters at University of Houston.

Me (Turmeric), Copyright Priya Kambli

D&B: What cameras or techniques do you use?
PK: I currently am using Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera. I use Photoshop software to pair my fragments together (collage) and do little tweaks to the images themselves.

D&B: Who are your mentors (in photography)?
PK: Larry Sultan, Sally Mann, Dayanita Singh and many many more.

D&B: When did you realize you could make have a career in photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a working photographer.
PK: I was lucky in that I started off teaching photography at Truman State University right out of graduate school. So, I knew early on I could make a living teaching photography.

But my ultimate goal has always been to be able to completely focus on my art making. Once (or if ever) that gets realized, then I might realize that I can make a career in photography.

Muma (Blue Dibiya), Copyright Priya Kambli

D&B: What do you hope to achieve with your photography?
PK: I hope to give voice to minority artists that are dealing with similar issues of hybrid cultural identity through their own personal history – of belonging to and embodying multiple cultures but fitting into neither one completely.

D&B: What’s your dream photography project?
PK: My dream project would be to go back to India and document my immediate and extended family.

D&B: What are you shooting now?
PK: I am still working on the series Color Falls Down. I have a few more images brewing in my head that I need to resolve visually for this series before I can put it down – for now.

Upcoming Photographer Interviews:
Sinden Collier
Lauri Lyons
Justine Reyes

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