Tasveer, founded by Riya Behl and Aaryaman Sen, is a community of student photographers providing pro-bono photography to NGOs and social projects. This time, we interviewed Riya Behl about their journey, aspirations and perspective on the impact of photography.
1) Where did the idea for Tasveer originate from?
Both Aaryaman and I are passionate about photography and during one of our many debates about this hobby, we toyed with the idea of using our photographs for more than just our Instagram accounts’. We understood the importance of photos and videos in telling stories that are receptive in a world dominated by social media. So the idea of Tasveer stemmed from this want to capture stories that sometimes don’t have the opportunity to be showcased or documented. We wanted to be available for NGOs in the capacity that we could as students — with our time and skill, not money — and help them communicate their cause better.
2) Tell us the process of launching Tasveer?
In our increasingly digital world, Tasveer began with a Facebook page and google form. The page was shared, form filled and soon came Whatsapp groups differentiated by their respective cities. Initially, it was difficult to reach NGOs and launch ourselves in the social sector but after lots of correspondence via email, I think we established some trust there too.
3) How would you define your main objectives in the long term?
Our main objective is to reach as many NGOs as possible. We also want to expand our community of student photographers and videographers.
4) Since the launch of Tasveer, what has kept you motivated?
The overwhelming response we got from students who were willing to give their time and effort as well as the positive response we got from NGOS definitely was a motivational force that keeps pushing us forward.
5) Give us your perspective on if photography can enable social change. If yes, how?
Yes, photography can definitely enable social change. Contemporary times where a blog like HONY raises millions of dollars in a span of 2 days for exploited brick kiln workers in Pakistan speaks volumes of the change photography can have especially facilitated with technology. History too shows us that this power of photography to impact people isn’t new. Photographs like the Napalm girl that helped in stopping a war are evidence for the fact that photos are powerful drivers of social change.
6) What do you look for in a volunteer? How can people volunteer?
There’s a volunteer form on the Facebook page and along with that you have to email your portfolio. This is the process to volunteer, it is very simple. Once chosen, you’ll be put on a Whatsapp group and NGO requirements will be posted on that periodically. The volunteers can then opt to cover an event if it is convenient for them. We don’t have any major criteria for a volunteer except they have to be a student, a photographer/videographer and must be willing to dedicate their time.
Tasveer is making a significant difference by giving back to their community. Help them in this endeavour and volunteer!