Sameer Saran is literally a family photographer. His Nikon camera is both witness and recorder of the daily lives of his parents at home. He is creating an album of familial intimacy, a candid camera record of his folks engaging with time and space. "Although I’ve been taking their pictures since 2016 whenever I visit them in our Rohtak home, this is the first time I’m forced to stay home for such a long period," he says ruefully.
A human rights lawyer, he lives and works in Jordan where he is part of the humanitarian effort in Civil War-torn Syria. He has previously worked in conflict zones such as Kosovo, Kenya, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Iraq. Saran took a break and trained for a year in photography in Paris after which he returned to the legal world, this time with an NGO in Jordan.
The photos of his parents, their familiar everyday routines and movements remind him of the safety and stability away from desolation and orphanhood. What was meant to be a brief visit home, extended indefinitely because of the pandemic. "We are just three people at home and there isn’t so much to do. I’m focused on this series of photographs," he says.
Since the pictures are not staged, he keeps the camera close just so that he can capture parental moments, provided the light is right. How do his folks react to it? "Well, they follow me on Instagram," he chuckles. They chide him when they feel that they are not looking their best or the image posted is of a private moment. One such moment was his parents waking up earlier than him so that his mother could give his father a haircut. "They knew that if I was awake, I would have taken a photograph."
Saran has not decided on how to take the project forward. "Perhaps an exhibition, which is probably harder right now due to the pandemic," he says. Meanwhile, a day in the life of a family is on Instagram where the world presently lives in frames and phrases.
You can view Sameer Saran's works on his Instagram page (@sameersaran_).