"Journey to My Beloved India" and "Seeing Culture"

Rubini Naidu has done ethnographic documentary photography work in Tamil Nadu, India—the region native to her family.

"Journey to My Beloved India" and "Seeing Culture"

2 years. 2 handmade books. 1 life changing experience.


In December 2014, Rubini set out on a photographic documentation of Tamil Nadu, India—the region native to her family. With an open mind, notebook, and camera in hand, she had conversations and interviews with locals who spoke on a variety of topics ranging from familial struggles to aspirations for their country. This project ultimately led to the creation of two handmade artists books. Through the first book, Journey to My Beloved India, Rubini depicted photographic narratives of aspects of Tamilian culture. In her second book, Seeing Culture, Rubini presented a literature review on cultural biases in human cognition and the role of photography in breaking stereotypes; Rubini also depicted examples of each through interpretations of her own photographs from India. 

This work was awarded the Humanities Award at Carnegie Mellon's Meeting of the Minds and was also the focus of her TEDxCMU talk. It has been exhibited at venues including the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and has also recieved academic spotlights in Harvard's Brevia research journal and in Harvard's Undergraduate Research Conference. 

This work was possible through the guidance of my mentor and fine-art documentarian, Professor Charlee Brodsky.