The Archive: On the LA High

When I moved to LA in 2017 for college, I started to get attention on Instagram. I was creating new imagery for the South Asian "diaspora" that we've never really seen before. I was meeting new people, mostly influencers, and doing photoshoots with them every weekend. I felt innovative because I myself had never seen photos of brown people sitting in diners with cultural jewelry and outfits or photos of brown people shot in an editorial style (aside from Vogue India). Being a quiet person, I felt pretty cool and seen. "Aren't you that one photographer" , "I told my friend about you, she has X amount of followers on Instagram and she wants to shoot with you.", "Noo way those are YOUR photos?!". Instagram made me feel like this quiet girl inside of me was finally being heard. And I was. Being a college kid in LA doing shoots almost every day with the coolest people ever? Definitely the LA high people talk about. Soon, people would constantly ask me to "collab" on photoshoots for free, and more and more people began doing shoots of brown people in South Asian jewelry in every place imaginable (which I have no negative feelings towards, but it just began to get overdone when shot the same way). This is also when the first COVID case broke out and Instagram started going downhill. I left for Spring break one day and that week my University announced that we were not coming back. The come down of the LA high.

I've come back to Instagram a few times here and there, but I don't find it's value anymore. Social Media once was a very useful tool for photographers. It's where I created a community and connected with so many other South Asian artists. As new social media platforms arose and competition amongst apps grew, Instagram no longer benefited me. It's bitter-sweet because I give credit to the app for giving me a platform to cultivate a community and grow as a photographer, but at the same time, for a photographer to rely on an ever changing platform (or any platform at all), it becomes unreliable.

One day I hope to curate a gallery of my past work that I believe serves so much nostalgia to the South Asian community. But, for now they'll live here on my website. There are definitely way more, but here are my selects from this era. I don't really have a point for this blurb, it's more so just what has been on my mind. I'm not announcing the end of taking photos because there's literally nothing else I'd rather do, but I guess this is more of the closure I never got. Something that kept me feeling so stagnant in my artist life. Anyways, now that that's over...

I call this period of work The Archive: On the LA High

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