Regarding Alice | Sahil Lodha

Sahil Lodha is a London based photographer, originally from India. The human element is central to his practice in which he intimately documents his subjects, capturing the rawness of the relationship. Empathy, Vulnerability, Fame and Beauty are important elements within his work. His practice tackles the themes of wilderness and liberation through a poetic and subtle aesthetic of the human body as a performative tool in its interaction with nature. I spoke with him about his ongoing project, ‘Regarding Alice‘.

 “I want to emphasise individuality, uniqueness and closeness.The most challenging part of my work is  capturing the intimacy between me and the people I photograph. What I love about photography is the balance between the technical aspects the more scientific research based and then also a more poetic quite spontaneous process as well.”


How did you get into photography?

Curiosity and instinct played a major role at getting me started.  After i finished school, I remember having an incredible interest and a desire to be outdoors, explore a new place and meet new people. I was and I am still adventurous and impatient by nature. Instinctively, I enrolled myself on a one year photography course thinking I’d enjoy this process of traveling and creating and then a year in the black and white darkroom had me obsessed; just that process of waiting near the fixer tank to see an image appear from nowhere and the satisfaction I got from it. It was Intense and I still remember it vividly.

You work on film. What is it about 35mm film that you’re drawn to?

I am drawn to its rawness, the skin tones and everlasting quality. It also makes me more focused, conscious and slow when i shoot and then there is this growing impatience of wanting to see how its all turned out or have majorly screwed up! With the 35mm work when i see the film scans its like i am touching my laptops screen almost as if wanting to touch the image so it’s – what’s the word – Tangible!


How did your project ‘Regarding Alice’ come into formation?

With Alice, it happened very naturally…We used to meet regularly for choir and after one of the sessions when we were winding up I saw the projector light on her face and spontaneously took a photograph. Since then I have continued photographing her. It’s been over 5 months now. I am interested in the concept of the photographer and the muse, sticking to one subject and documenting the subject for a long time. I will do it if I instinctively feel like I should. With time, trust and friendships develop and a more intimate connection can be achieved and sometimes the project takes a different direction and develops into something more interesting. So, at the outset i just keep it instinctive.  The photographs are a documentation of Alice through my eyes.


How has your relationship with Alice changed since you began photographing her?

Photography has been instrumental in initiating a friendship and since we sing together it doesn’t feel forced or staged, which is what I like about it. We are friends and there is no reason why I would not continue photographing her. I think she does trust me more now and to develop that trust has taken a while.


What is it about Alice that you aim to capture through your photographs?

I love bringing out people’s character and personality and spot in them something I can see but others haven’t and then showing whats possible through my pictures. She also has a incredibly powerful gaze which led me into photographing her more. Its like she is just there, not doing anything extraordinary and still being incredibly photogenic. I think I am drawn to that in some sort of a cinematic way. I’d like to now bring in the element of music which got us connected in the first place and photograph her when she is singing and vice versa. I would like to make a performance piece of us singing together perhaps. The project is developing in an interesting way and I am in constant touch with some of my tutors and some mates who always bring in something different to it that I can explore.The project is about Alice and everything that gives us an insight into her world.


Where do you find inspiration?

Juergen Teller’s work and Rosaline Shahnavaz’s work both are an inspiration. Paolo Roversi, Antoine Henault, Spencer Murphy, Dean Chalkley, Maud Chalard…its a long list! Besides that, majority of my inspiration comes from music and films. The music I listen to largely influences the free flowing and free spirited approach in my work.

What is next for you?

I am photographing Zoe my friend from LCC who is from Florence. I am making a zine with her and small booklets and its in a very interesting phase at the moment. Besides that, just staying true to my instinct and being my own person, and taking time to zone out sometimes, because I tend to get too involved and obsessive when i am at work.