Sahil Lodha – BA (Hons) Photography

Sahil Lodha is an Indian-born, London-based photographer and a graduate of the BA (Hons) Photography course at London College of Communication.

Graduating from LCC in 2016, Sahil was shortly selected for the British Journal of Photography’s Portrait of Britain national exhibition. We caught up with him to find out about his BJP selection, his practice, and his time on the BA (Hons) Photography course at LCC.

Hi Sahil – congratulations on being selected for BJP’s Portrait of Britain! Could you tell us a little more about it?

Thank you! I was reading the British Journal of Photography in the LCC library when I stumbled upon the announcement of Portrait of Britain – which was an open call for photographers to submit portraits that celebrate the country’s unique heritage and diversity. The advertisement stuck with me because I was working on making portraits at that time and I instinctively felt like I should not miss out on submitting.

From nearly 4000 entries, 100 were finally selected. I think every photographer graduating out of university would love to be part of something like this. To have my images screened all over the UK feels fantastic.

Milly Chester by Sahil Lodha, selected for the BJP's Portrait of Britain.
Image © Sahil Lodha

And why did you choose Milly as your subject to represent Britain?

It was a very instinctive and spontaneous decision. I was photographing at Central Saint Martins and was almost about to leave just before sunset when I first met her. Milly is a student at CSM and I just knew I had to take a picture when I first saw her, which happens really rarely… The freckles on her face and the way she had done her hair that day both were important elements, and after a few minutes of conversation we ventured out towards the CSM entrance where I could use the subtle evening light to make this photograph.

Why did you choose to study this course and why LCC?

I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. Before LCC, I was constantly travelling and making and even though I loved it it had started to become monotonous. I wanted a change of place, people, work ethic and culture.

I chose BA (Hons) Photography at LCC to be a stepping stone towards building my portfolio for working in advertising, fashion and possibly working commercially for magazines in the future. The course had a good reputation and being in London was also a big factor.

Image © Sahil Lodha

What is the most important thing you learned while studying on your course?

The importance of research and reading. I learned to apply a multifaceted and diverse approach within my practice where I had the liberty to gather influences from a myriad of different things.

My understanding of the medium has also really broadened. I learnt that every creative does things their own way and that I needed to be a little more accepting and less judgmental about other people’s work.

Last, but not the least, there are no rules.

What three words would you use to best describe LCC?

1: Challenging. 2: Facilities and freedom – in terms of having the choice to decide what and how to make work. 3: Esther Teichmann – my most inspiring tutor and someone I could look up to.

What piece of advice would you give to new students?

Make complete use of being in a global and diverse city like London that gives you plenty of options to do interesting things. Make use of all the facilities and shoot film learn how to process, develop and print your own. Take that train on the weekend going nowhere. It will refresh you. Ask yourself the question “Why” every now and then. Seek advice but in the end have the courage to make work you believe in.

Image © Sahil Lodha

Tell us a bit about how you work more broadly as a photographer...

Photography is communication. I love connecting with people – no matter what background, race culture or beliefs, everyone has a story to tell. I love this idea of embracing everything and everyone I meet. It teaches me a great deal.

Humanism is central to my practice. I intimately document my subjects, allowing me to capture the rawness of the relationship. I want to emphasise individuality, uniqueness and closeness. The most challenging part of my work is to manage to capture the intimacy between me and the people I photograph.

What I love about photography is the balance between the technical aspects, the more scientific research based, and then also a more poetic, quite spontaneous process as well. My practice is also largely influenced by cinema.

What are your next steps following graduation – do you have any new projects in the pipeline?

It would be ideal to keep working on 35mm as much as I can. I’m also working with a production company shooting stills for a film.Generally, I want to watch more films, make more music, travel, keep the creative juices flowing and wait for the Eureka moment for that one idea that just comes when it has to. I believe in destiny & being fiercely optimistic!