Through Her Lens : Photography Exhibition

Open Call for Through Her Lens: Reframing the Domestic

 Reframing Domestic Space in the COVID-19 lockdown:
Experiences of women, queer, trans and other marginalized identities of Northeast India and Darjeeling Hills .
Photo credits: Shweta Jangir

Through Her Lens is a visual research programme in collaboration with Zubaan Publishers Pvt Ltd., supported by Sasakawa Peace Foundation, under the Fragrance of Peace Project. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying lockdown has confined us to the four walls of our homes. ‘Home’ or the domestic sphere is both a material space where we enact social actions and relations, as well as a concept, embodied through each person’s lived experiences. 

For some, it’s a safe place signifying love and nurture, for few an extension of their individuality and for others, a place of abuse and terror. Yet for many, it’s a non-existent entity. The domestic space is also a fluid notion, where its sense and significance is continuously altering. During this year’s lockdown, we’ve witnessed several different meanings of the concept of home. 

This project aims to visually manifest the experiences of women, queer and other marginalized identities within the domestic space during the current COVID-19 crisis and the contestations, negotiations, etc. that emerge from them. 

The project emerges from these present challenges — the lockdown, the collapse of the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ space, the merging of paid, unpaid work, etc.. Photographers are navigating their own domestic space and documenting intimate relations. This makes it a deeply personal work for anyone and the act of photography acquires new meaning. The distance between the documentarian and the subject, between the storyteller and the story has evidently collapsed. 

How do you photograph your own? How do you document objectively? How do you seek consent from close relations? How do you articulate feminist ethics in photography? How do you negotiate the audience’s gaze on your private space? 

We hope to engage with these issues through photography and our upcoming weekly webinar series––Through Her Lens: Capturing the lockdown with feminists researchers, activists and photographers in Northeast India.

We encourage photographers to submit their work and participate in these dialogues and try to address the challenges of documenting from within.

Theme: Reframing Domestic Space in the COVID-19 lockdown: Experiences of women, queer, trans and other marginalized identities of Northeast India.

Some experiences that can be visually articulated are: 

  • Women’s invisible labour (domestic and unpaid work, care work, etc.)
  • Changing dynamics of family relations during extended confinement at home
  • Mental health of vulnerable people during the lockdown
  • Experiences of migrants (engaged in domestic work,stranded in workplaces, etc.)
  • Assertions of individuality (e.g. many women have taken up cooking as a form of self-expression during the lockdown)

The photographers are, of course, free to explore the theme through their own imaginations and not be limited by this list. 


  • Chronicle experiences and stories of women, queer, trans and other marginalized groups from the eight Northeast Indian states+Darjeeling Hills during the COVID-19 lockdown. 
  • Encourage feminist discourses in the region. 
  • Expand women’s photographic practices in the region and engage with visual storytelling as a form of research and archiving

Selection criteria

  • Open to women, queer and trans communities from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Darjeeling Hills 
  • 18 years and above 

Deadline for submissions

  • Submissions will be ongoing throughout the month of May 2020 and selected photographs will be displayed on a rolling basis

Submission process

  • All submissions should contain the following information:



Email id:

Contact no:

Social media handles:  

  • All submissions should consist of a short description of the images. (max 300 words) 
  • All submissions should consist of a short bio of the photographer. Please state your preferred pronoun in the bio. (max 150 words) 
  • If you need help with drafting the description and bio please feel free to reach out to us in the given contact details.
  • Submissions can be made in three ways: 
  • Email to:  (Please mention the subject as Submissions for THL)
  • Google Form: Through Her Lens May 2020
  • WhatsApp: +91 9811664209 (Please note that if selected, final images should be sent via email in high-resolution JPEG format) 

Image descriptions 

  • Final images should be high-resolution and at least 1MB in size
  • Images should be in JPEG file format
  • Images should not have watermarks 
  • Images must be taken during the COVID-19 lockdown period 
  • Phone photogrpahy is allowed.
  • Up to 10 images can be submitted. 
  • A photo series with a running theme is preferable rather than standalone images 

After selection 

  • Selected images will be displayed on Zubaan Projects  social media platforms. 
  • The images will also be archived on the Zubaan website 
  • Selected photographers will receive a small honorarium and letter of participation from Zubaan 


  • All participants share the rights with Zubaan Publishers Pvt Ltd (ZPPL) for publishing the selected images on their website, social media, related accounts and communication materials, which will be used in accordance with the company’s Privacy Policy.
  • Selected photos can be used by participants with due acknowledgement to ZPPL and Through Her Lens

About Zubaan Publishers Pvt Ltd

Zubaan Publishers Pvt Ltd is an independent publishing house based in New Delhi and has been a participant and chronicler of the women’s movement in India and South Asia. It was set up in 2003 as an imprint of India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali for Women, and continues to publish books on, for, by and about women in South Asia. For more information, please visit

About Fragrance of Peace Project 

Fragrance of Peace is a collaborative project between the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and Zubaan Publishers Pvt. Ltd. This project started with the objective to build networks and nurture solidarity through dialogue, literary exchange and peace-building within the Northeast region. It also aims to build a platform for artists, writers, journalists and researchers from the region to discuss, ideate and work on their regional specificities, and support these conversations by participating in literature festivals, book fairs and cultural events in different locations across India. For more information, please visit

Mridu Rai, Curator

Mridu Rai is an independent art manager and curator. She curated the first edition of Through Her Lens exhibition in February 2020 and has most recently worked as the editor of Artem, an independent magazine which looks at northeast India through the lens of art. She is currently collaborating with photographers from northeast Indian states on various archival and curatorial projects and is also developing community art programmes in Sikkim. 

Anushya Pradhan, Assistant Curator

Anushya Pradhan is the assistant curator of Through Her Lens. She has recently worked as art programmes coordinator at The People’s Studio, ARTEM where she curated creative events such as film screenings, printmaking and zine workshops. At present, she is also involved in developing art, reading and education programmes.

For enquiries: 9811664209 / 9820791324

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