We are aware of the viral picture of the chaiwala captioned “Hot Tea” by a freelance photographer Jiah Ali. She never ever thought that one picture by her would go viral all over the world and people would go crazy for the chaiwala! Luck has its own way of coming to us and that is what happened to both the photographer and the subject. We had an interview with Jiah about her take on photography and about the chaiwala, so read on…
Jessica: As a photographer, what is your own definition of photography?
Jiah: Photography for me is capturing the perfect scene and situation that is presented, while the subject is at its most natural form.
Jessica: Which photographer’s work inspires you and why?
Jiah: I am a huge fan of Steve McCurry, I have been following him since a very long time his photographs capture the essence of every person he shoots. And it is an honour to be compared to him and his portrait of the Afghan girl.
Jessica: While photographing a subject, what do you keep in mind?
Jiah: I am a very spontaneous photographer, I don’t have anything in my mind when I set out to photograph, especially when it comes to street photography, I just grab my camera and head out and try to capture whatever comes in my way. As I believe the best comes out in a subject when you let it be its most natural form.
Jessica: What genre of photography do you prefer more and why?
Jiah: I am a wedding/event freelance photographer by profession, but I enjoy street photography a lot, again because it is so spontaneous and natural to capture.
Jessica: Recently, the photograph you captioned “Hot-tea” has gone viral. How do you feel about it?
Jiah: Never could have imagined in a million years that this would happen. But I’m absolutely delighted! Cannot thank God enough for giving me my big break this early in my life.
Jessica: What was in your mind when you photographed this chaiwala?
Jiah: I was attracted to the entire scene that presented itself to me, the perfect amount of sunlight the hustle and bustle of crowd around his stall, his concentration in his task; it was a combination of all these factors.
Jessica: Do you have any visions in making a change through the photographs you click?
Jiah: I believe, now that I have helped a man like Arshad make his life better and be able to reach out to more people, I’d want to photograph others like him who are in need and want their words to reach to other people. I want to be a medium through which the unfortunate can connect with the fortunate.
Jessica: If you had not been a photographer, what would you have been doing?
Jiah: I would definitely be studying in the culinary field. I love food!
Jessica: Many photographers are finding a chance to get their photography featured somewhere. How will you advise them with this?
Jiah: Social media is a great tool to get your work noticed, Use it!
– Jessica Pancholi