Words by Jyoti Mann
Sahil Lodha, a 2016 graduate from BA (Hons) Photography at London College of Communication, was selected earlier this year for the ‘Portrait of Britain’ exhibition by the British Journal of Photography (BJP).
Sahil Lodha was inspired to submit his work to Portrait of Britain whilst reading the BJP at the LCC Library. He stumbled upon an advertisement; an open call for photographers to submit portraits that celebrated Britain’s unique heritage and diversity. From almost 4000 entries, 100 were finally selected.
We got in touch with Sahil to hear about the submission and selection process and life after graduation.
The portrait ‘Milly Chester’ was selected – part of your project ‘The World in London’, featuring portraits of Londoners from every nation of the world. Why did you choose Milly as a subject to represent Britain?
It was an instinctive and spontaneous decision. I was photographing at Central Saint Martins and leaving just before sunset when I first met her. I felt compelled to take a picture when I first saw her, which happens rarely. The way her hair was styled and the freckles on her face were both important elements as well as the subtle evening light, which inspired me to create this photograph.
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 various places. My understanding of the medium has broadened as I learned every creative does things their own way and there are no rules. I found [Senior Lecturer] Esther Teichmann particularly inspiring and someone I look up to. I learned to attend as many events and exhibitions as possible, make an effort to meet new people, be inquisitive and seek advice from fellow classmates. Most importantly, I learned to take initiative.
What advice do you have for prospective students at LCC?
Plan your day well and make complete use of being in a diverse city like London. Make use of all the resources and learn how to shoot film, process, develop and print your own. Take a train at the weekend going nowhere. It will refresh you. Ask yourself the question ‘why’ every now and then. Push yourself more creatively and don’t make work for the sake of making it. Seek advice but in the end have the courage to make work you believe in.
What inspires your creative processes?
Humanism is central to my practice in which I intimately document my subjects, allowing me to capture the rawness of the relationship. I want to emphasise individuality, uniqueness and closeness. My practice is also largely influenced by cinema.
What are your next steps following graduation and do you have any projects in the pipeline?
I am working with a production company shooting stills for a film and also looking to finish my final-year project by completing the project in all 196 countries of the world. It would be ideal to keep working on 35mm as much as I can. In the future I would love to work with an advertising firm, fashion brand or filmmaker with a unique, outside-the-box idea. I hope to be inspired by more films, music and travel to keep the creative juices flowing in hope of a ‘eureka’ moment.