Saadiya Kochar is a New Delhi based photographer, who studied Mass Communication from Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication. Then she went on to study photography from Triveni Kala Sangam ( under Mr O. P Sharma) and ICPP Australia ( in collaboration with NIFT and later PAF). She began her photographic career, at the age of 24 with an exhibition and book, titled ‘Being…’ , self discovery displayed through the body. She continued this journey towards unpeeling, through other solo shows, ‘Within…’ about spirituality, ‘Zikr..’ about Sufism, ‘ Loss’ about the PSA in Kashmir and the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. Her ongoing works include ‘Road tripping- Photowalli Gaadee’, ‘2019’, ‘Kashmir through my eyes’, ‘Delhi Through Their Eyes’, ‘Delhi at Night’ ‘ My Mother My Self’ ‘ Women in India’ and the latest ‘2020-2022- barely surviving’ about mental health. Some of the other series she’s worked on are ‘Blue’, ‘Symbol, forms and stereotypes‘, ‘ Paris- loving and longing’.
Kochar has exhibited her works in galleries in India as well as abroad for two decades. Her works are inspired by the sacred feminine, delve into the duality of existence, meander through a path of aloneness plus eccentricity and remain on a search for the self through the divine. She has worked extensively in Kashmir. Other than the genres of art and documentary photography Saadiya has done a fair share of commercial work.
Over the years, her works have been described as political and rebellious. ‘ One of the most overtly state of thenationimages on people and politics is by Saadiya Kochar’- wrote Sneha Burah in the Week ( Feb 2020) about the series 2019.
‘Sexuality, femininity and spirituality are the main themes around which Saadiya’s photographs revolve. Unconventional in her style that she callsfine art.’- -Ht Next 2005
‘Did any one say that when a braveperson takes a stand, spines of others are also stiffened’- Rana Siddiqui, from the Hindu about Being (2004)
‘Being branded a rebel does not bother her’- Prince Matthew, Financial Express 2004
‘Unlikemostyoungsters today, she refuses to follow the early path. She prefers instead to follow her heart’- Ht city 2004
‘My work is a self centric process which is inspired by the sacred feminine and the duality of existence. Though, over the years the works due to my choice of subjects have been called acts of rebellion and resistance. For meit’s– the emotional to the abstract; from the sensual to the spiritual; from extreme whites to extreme blacks; the opposing forces on the spectrum that are really the underlying themes which carry along as a common thread through all my images. For me photography is the only way I connect with this world…if there was no music, no photography and no poetry in my life, I would have left this world a long time ago.’- Saadiya Kochar
Qualification- Diploma in photography from ICPP, Australia (in collaboration with NIFT and later PAF).
Diploma in photography from Triveni Kala Sangam ( taught by Mr O.P Sharma)
Diploma in Mass Communication from Sri Aurobindo Institute of Mass Communication.
Books- The photographer started her career, at the age of 24, by launching a book called ‘BEING…..’.It was self published by her.
’15- Featured artist-Forms of Devotion published by Niyogi Books.
’15- Yoga Chakra’, catalogue by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Saadiya’s works have been included in the ‘Click’ book as well as the ‘Faces of Partnership’ project.
Contributory writer ‘Chicken soup for the single’s soul’.
Film- In 2012 the photographer wrote and directed her first film Loss…..It was about the troubles in Kashmir.
Teaching experience- Nov 2013 till April 2020- Faculty Pearl Academy of Fashion.
July ’05-May’06- Faculty (photography) at the Pearl academy of fashion.
May ’06-June’07 – Faculty (photo posing) Elite Model Management.
Museums- Saadiya’s works are part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Sacred Art, Brussels.
Road Tripping- In June 2017, Saadiya travelled through 18 states, to spread the message of universal brotherhood. It is an ongoing project which will culminate into a public exhibit.
Kashmir- For the past decade, the photographer has been travelling to Kashmir for her own work as well as commissioned work. This work will culminate into a series of books.
Worked on a project, ‘Faces of partnership’ for the Australian High Commission.
Artistic residency – July ’10- Centre Pompidou. The photographer was invited on a month long artistic residency, as an assistant on Sunil Gupta’s project ‘Sun City’ to the Centre Pompidou, Paris.
Reviews- Saadiya’s works have been reviewed by The New York Times (2013), Noticias De Gipuzkoa( Spain/ 2006), The Sunday Guardian (’14/’10), The Week (‘2020) The Hindu ( ’10/’08/’06), The Asian Age(’12/’07),The Deccan Herald (2012), The Hindustan Times (’10/’06), The Times of India (’12) Elle, Femina, India Today, Indian Express etc.
Articles- Greater Kashmir, Folktales- ‘The Story Of A Son In Law.’
T.V- Star World- Style episode 17 ( Star Classics on youtube)
Star World- Top Drive Getaway episode 23 ( Star Classics on youtube). CNBC- TV 18- Young Turks