Documentary Photography – The Thoughts Of India’s Future Brides

I don’t want a nuclear kind of family. I want to stay with my husband’s mom and dad. I never prefer to stay all alone because I have seen my mom was looking after her in-laws, so, obviously, I will do that too. I respect it and I never will be happy to live alone somewhere else. / Russi Modi, 22 years old

 

Artist and Photographer Maria Kapajeva is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From her project ‘Marry Me‘. To see Maria’s gallery of projects click on any image.

 

Artist Statement:
India is all about family. When I visited it, I realized how important family is for the  local people. My curiosity made me to meet young educated women who told me their plans for their future including marriage. I found fascinating to discover it was customary for male photographers to take matrimonial portraits in India. One of the male studio photographers explained the ‘chemistry’ between him and a female client during the photo shoot is important, and it would be missing if the photographer happened to be female! Unlike the male photographer, I gave the girls freedom to choose what they wanted to wear and how to stand in front of the camera. Taking into consideration the social changes and the rise of education that are taking place in India today, I found in these women a generation who grown up with an awareness of the change to women’s social status. Marry Me is a series of hand-painted portraits of Indian young women that contrast the traditional qualities of the archaic processes with the contemporary conditions of the brides-to-be. Using Indian old traditional techniques for matrimonial photographs (such as a portraiture next to a mirror to prove that a girl has no defect, or hand-painting to enrich their appearance), I created single prints which symbolize the uniqueness of each of these women. Photographs accompany extracts from the interviews which open a personal perspective with each of them involving family subject and their future plans.
Ahmedabad, India

 

They are already started pushing me about marriage. It’s too soon! I would ideally want to get married at 26 or something, and I want to do an arranged marriage only, because, I think, my parents would be cold minded for it. I am young woman, impulsive and love is impulsive thing. If I expect myself to fall in love, he could be wrong one, because love is very impulsive. But I will be part of entire selection process. I find it is very exciting. / Archana Iyer, 23 years old

They are already started pushing me about marriage. It’s too soon! I would ideally
want to get married at 26 or something and I want to do an arranged marriage only, because I think, my parents would be cold minded for it. I am a young woman, impulsive and love is impulsive thing. If I expect myself to fall in love, he could be wrong one, because love is very impulsive. But I will be part of entire selection process. I find it is very exciting. / Archana Iyer, 23 years old

 

Usually Indian tendency, Indian mentality is, when it’s a love marriage, they guys’ parents always think it is a girl who somehow trapped him. It always happens whatever if it’s a love marriage: at first instance there is resistance. / Nikita Dutt, 28 years old

Usually Indian tendency, Indian mentality is, when it’s a love marriage, the guys’ parents always think it is a girl who somehow trapped him. It always happens whatever if it’s a love marriage: at first instance there is resistance. / Nikita Dutt, 28 years old

 

Love marriage is a problem because when we are choosing, we don’t know what kind of guy is he, how is his family, what he is doing. / Sanjukta Sengupta, 27 years old

Love marriage is a problem because when we are choosing, we don’t know what kind of guy is he, how is his family, what he is doing. / Sanjukta Sengupta, 27 years old

 

Ideal marriage for me would be the one, which is both love and arranged, and love comes before the arrangement. I mean I should like the buy before my parents like him. I think I am still little not too sure if that is what I really want. / Ishita Mishra, 24 years old

Ideal marriage for me would be the one, which is both love and arranged, and love comes before the arrangement. I mean I should like the guy before my parents like him. I think I am still little not too sure if that is what I really want. / Ishita Mishra, 24 years old

 

There is no pressure; I know I want to get married but not now. I want to do so many things before marriage and, if I get married, I never can do them in my life. Like my career for instance, if I get married, all my work on it will be wasted. So, I’d like to get married but later on. / Bhavna Bahri, 26 years old

There is no pressure; I know I want to get married but not now. I want to do so many things before marriage and, if I get married, I never can do them in my life. Like my career for instance, if I get married, all my work on it will be wasted. So, I’d like to get married but later on. / Bhavna Bahri, 26 years old

 

I made a deal with my parents - they allowed me to do my Master Degree in a subject I wanted, but I owe them my obedience in arranging my marriage. I know I owe it but let’s see how it works. / Arumina Singh, 22 years old

I made a deal with my parents – they allowed me to do my Master Degree in a subject I wanted, but I owe them my obedience in arranging my marriage. I know I owe it but let’s see how it works. / Arumina Singh, 22 years old

 

He shouldn’t, he cannot afford to be Muslim and, of course, not from lower caste. He has to be from an upper caste, preferably from Brahmin, preferably from the same state of North India, but not from South, of course. I am very selective; I can’t let anyone to come to my life because of lots of all these reasons. / Neha Bahuguna, 22 years old

He shouldn’t, he cannot afford to be Muslim and, of course, not from lower caste. He has to be from an upper caste, preferably from Brahmin, preferably from the same state of North India, but not from South, of course. I am very selective; I can’t let anyone to come to my life because of lots of all these reasons. / Neha Bahuguna, 22 years old

 

I don’t know how to cook at all. I need to learn it, traditional dishes. I know basics but I don’t know those like for you guys to bake a cake. Is cake a big deal? Even we have some dishes, which you should know how to cook it. My mom was always cooking and my sister-in-law is at home now to cook also. / Rucha Deshpande, 24 years old

I don’t know how to cook at all. I need to learn it, traditional dishes. I know basics but I don’t know those like for you guys to bake a cake. Is cake a big deal? Even we have some dishes, which you should know how to cook it. My mom was always cooking and my sister-in-law is at home now to cook also. / Rucha Deshpande, 24 years old

 

You can spend years and years to study customs of your husband’s family. But if you get married with your caste, your life is more joy. I don’t like intercaste marriages, I don’t want one. There are two sides of it: if there are problems, divorces are not acceptable in India. / Pavna Mehta, 21 years old

You can spend years and years to study customs of your husband’s family. But if you get married with your caste, your life is more joy. I don’t like intercaste marriages, I don’t want one. There are two sides of it: if there are problems, divorces are not acceptable in India. / Pavna Mehta, 21 years old

 

I wish I can pick up a guy as they can do it easily with girls. / Rose Marie Savio, 22 years old

I wish I can pick up a guy as they can do it easily with girls. / Rose Marie Savio, 22 years old

 

He should be lovely, understanding and he should allow me to work as much as I want. You know how Indian guys usually are? They don’t want females working. It’s very insane, but that’s how it is. I want a person, who respects me working and let me do what I want. / Aditi Anuj, 23 years old

He should be lovely, understanding and he should allow me to work as much as I want. You know how Indian guys usually are? They don’t want females working. It’s very insane, but that’s how it is. I want a person, who respects me working and let me do what I want. / Aditi Anuj, 23 years old

 

Arranged marriage is a sort of safe backup plan, it gives you hope that if you don’t meet anyone, you still can be happy. / Shilpa Gavane, 25 years old

Arranged marriage is a sort of safe backup plan, it gives you hope that if you don’t meet anyone, you still can be happy. / Shilpa Gavane, 25 years old

 

I don’t understand the whole concept of arranged marriage. It is not gained to me how you can meet somebody just like that, randomly. Obviously, you will check the background and everything. You make a couple of meetings and then you suppose to like him and say ‘yes’ to him, and get married after couple of months. I need to know that person, I need to like that person, I need to meet that person for a while, at least for one year time. / Neha Malhotra, 24 years old

I don’t understand the whole concept of arranged marriage. It is not gained to me how you can meet somebody just like that, randomly. Obviously, you will check the background and everything. You make a couple of meetings and then you suppose to like him and say ‘yes’ to him, and get married after couple of months. I need to know that person, I need to like that person, I need to meet that person for a while, at least for one year time. / Neha Malhotra, 24 years old

 

It’s a problem if non-married couple wants to find apartments to live. That time it was a problem for us. But, the family we are staying with, they don’t have problem with it. They did asked what are your intentions and things like that. Once we spoke to them about it, they were fine. / Andrea Noronha, 28 years old

It’s a problem if non-married couple wants to find apartments to live. That time it was a problem for us. But, the family we are staying with, they don’t have problem with it. They did asked what are your intentions and things like that. Once we spoke to them about it, they were fine. / Andrea Noronha, 28 years old

 

I think 26 or something, as my parents said, is a good age to get married and I am good with it. They don’t want me to get too old it will be very tough then. Actually they also want that I shouldn’t find a boy who will support me. I should have enough money to support myself. So, they don’t want me to be dependent from someone. / Priyanka Oberoi, 21 years old

I think 26 or something, as my parents said, is a good age to get married and I am good with it. They don’t want me to get too old it will be very tough then. Actually they also want that I shouldn’t find a boy who will support me. I should have enough money to support myself. So, they don’t want me to be dependent from someone. / Priyanka Oberoi, 21 years old

 

Actually, I think, since I have lived in a nuclear family, I am more used to having my own space within a family structure. I don’t know if I would be ready for a joint family structure now. But if I am, it would be great to have my parents around also. / Suruchi Dumpawar, 25 years old

Actually, I think, since I have lived in a nuclear family, I am more used to having my own space within a family structure. I don’t know if I would be ready for a joint family structure now. But if I am, it would be great to have my parents around also. / Suruchi Dumpawar, 25 years old

 

My elder sister has to get married first. Also, I would love to live in India, but I don’t mind to go abroad but not to be settled there. I want to settle in India. I see my cousins; one of them is settled in America. I have seen that kind of difference the grandchildren have. American children don’t get any affection of love that grandparents can give. / Anjali Gopan, 21 years old

My elder sister has to get married first. Also, I would love to live in India, but I don’t mind to go abroad but not to be settled there. I want to settle in India. I see my cousins; one of them is settled in America. I have seen that kind of difference the grandchildren have. American children don’t get any affection of love that grandparents can give. / Anjali Gopan, 21 years old

 

I kept some many criteria already: I don’t want an engineer, I don’t want a doctor, I don’t want our university’s graduates and I don’t want fine artists. Most of my family members are either engineers or doctors, I am having step out of it and I am doing something else. I always thought it can be good if he comes from another discipline. / Sujata Verma, 24 years old

I kept some many criteria already: I don’t want an engineer, I don’t want a doctor, I don’t want our university’s graduates and I don’t want fine artists. Most of my family members are either engineers or doctors, I am having step out of it and I am doing something else. I always thought it can be good if he comes from another discipline. / Sujata Verma, 24 years old

 

I have a boyfriend, my parents know him. My dad doesn’t know him like boyfriend officially but he knows him as a friend. / Ankita Asthana, 23 years old

I have a boyfriend, my parents know him. My dad doesn’t know him like boyfriend officially but he knows him as a friend. / Ankita Asthana, 23 years old

 

See also:

Reading Apocrypha

A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Woman

By Maria Kapajeva

 


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