Homai Vyarawalla: First Indian Woman Photojournalist's Journey Through Odds

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Homai Vyarawalla: First Indian Woman Photojournalist's Journey Through Odds

Vyarawalla, who learned to operate a camera and the art of photography from her husband, chose to become a photographer at a time when the idea of women working was yet to get traction in the society.

Google on Saturday paid tributes to "Dalda 13" aka Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, through a doodle. Her photos were initially published under his name, or her pseudonym.

Homai Vyarawalla started her career as a photojournalist in the 1930s and has worked with the British Information Services and has contributed to The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine. This was one of the many photographs she took of Nehru in her decades-long career. Her pseudonym comes from the year of her birth - 1913 - and the Dalda from her car's number plate DLD 13.

She captured in her lens top personalities like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, the Mountbatten couple, Indira Gandhi and her husband Feroze Gandhi, the other members of the Nehru-Gandhi clan, other Indian and foreign leaders, US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II and many more. She was awarded Padma Vibhushan in the year 2011.

Homai Vyarawalla: First Indian Woman Photojournalist's Journey Through Odds
Homai Vyarawalla: First Indian Woman Photojournalist's Journey Through Odds

Vyarawalla always believed that it is the classical intersection of composition, angle and timing that forms a good photograph."There are 15 people taking a photograph at the same time; each has his own style".

Soon after her husband's death, in 1970, she gave up photography disappointed with the change the profession had undergone. The biography celebrates her work and her contribution to photojournalism especially as a lone woman in a field that continues to be male-dominated even today.

A decade later in 1982, she and her son returned to Baroda and Farrokh succumbed to cancer in 1989.

On 15 January 2012, her inspiring journey came to an end at the age of 98. She bequeath her life's work to the New Delhi-based Alkazi Foundation for the Arts for documentation.

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