Shooting Hijras Is Not Just Photography But Poetry of Life of My Cosmic Fate, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
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People who dont know me , wonder why I shoot hijras , and I shoot hijras simply because I shoot life as a poem , a blank verse an ode an elegy call it what you may..but I shoot hijras I shoot them as I see them , I shoot them in their natural habitat, what hurts me most is the cheap comments on my hijra pictures the vulgarity the ridicule so I choked my comment box at Flickr and at my Wordpress site Hijras of India.
I am not a hijra activist, I have no confusion about my sexuality and shooting people ha nothing to do with their sexual orientation , I shoot the hijras I give them respect and barring a few most of them respect me too..
I have been shooting hijras for about 10 years now , the two places I meet them annually is Haji Malang and Ajmer , and the few I meet on the streets begging for a living , or those in the local trains.. the beggar hijras know me .. as the crazy guy who shoots them ..
Earlier the hijras thought pictures and sold it but gradually they realized I dont need to sell pictures to make money I am a self made small time entrepreneur , as you like to smoke drink I love shooting hijras that is my high , but not my addiction I can do without shooting hijras..
One a day recently I met a bunch of them I was in a formal suit I sat on the floor with them on a main street but I had no camera I refuse to shoot them on a mobile phone , simply because their larger than life ethos cannot fit on a mobile phone camera screen..
I have a hijra Guru Laxmi Narayan Tripathi now in the Big Boss house spreading awareness even Mr Shakti Kapoor is a very dear friend my patron too..
I have in all humility shot Laxmi with a endearing poetic passion , it was Laxmi who has been my mentor guide , she has visited my house met my family she is very fond of my daughter and my wife.,.
She has yet not seen my grand children..hijras dont come to my house I dont know why.. never..
Most of the hijras at the red light area Mumbai called Cages Peela house know me I have shot them , but have not gone their since a very long time sheer laziness ..
I am invited to Hijra conference in Delhi as I am very close to Gopal Haji and Babita and their eunuch children but I am stuck in Mumbai for good..
Hijras on the road bless me and some hijras who consider me a holy man I bless them too.. I am not a holy man I have my flaws quirks but I am honest sincere in my respect towards the hijras .. the beggar hijras invite me to their shanties I politely rtefuse I dont have time , my life has not been smooth and on a down slide..
However ever since I became a Dam Madar Malang along with my Belgian friend Marc De Clercq , prolific photographer who shoots hijras malangs and the streets , my spiritual status has changed , the hijras and other Sufi monks treat me differently but they know also I am a hardcore Shia Muslim.. believer of Ahle Bayt.. follower of Ali and Hussain.
My soon to turn 4 grand daughter is aware of the hijras and has shot them too, she knows they are different ..
So this blog post is in reply to a dear friend great photographer Joshi Daniels .. his query to me on Google+triggered this response ..
I have over 17000 or more images on the hijras , the hijra shaman , hijra exorcists and eunuch children, I write hijra poetry..
Shooting hijras is my cosmic fate , I cannot escape it .. they meet me I meet them but there are times I can think of them and I meet them right away this is a strange gift that does not surprise me at all.. it does not happen every time but it does happen and so my pictures are my testimony of my tryst with the hijras..