From the by lanes of Pune to the skyscrapers of Singapore, Siddhartha Joshi and his camera are asking people only one question, ‘Tell me your dream’. Always on the lookout for stories, avid traveler Siddhartha Joshi is scripting one in pictures. An industrial designer by profession, he is also a popular travel blogger and photographer. What started as an attempt to discover the neighborhood with pictures and dreams of people living around has now turned into a widely known socially impactful project called ‘Tell me your dream’. We talk to Siddhartha to find out more…
“My father always had a camera and that’s how I got my hands and heart into photography. With time I became a traveler and started using the camera as a means to capture moments. Now, I am trying to use the camera as a tool for a far bigger objective – to bring people together to share dreams, and fulfill some of these dreams by capturing picture stories.” says Siddhartha talking of his tryst with photography.
Tell me your dream
It started with faces in the neighbourhood – the grocer, garment cleaners, garbage collectors etc, he says talking about the ‘Tell me your Dream’ project. The pure innocence of their dreams is what caught his attention. As the pictures grew in number, the idea gained a lot of momentum on social media. This encouraged him to travel more and capture more dreams and aspirations. This also ingrained in him a sense of responsibility towards these dreams. He is now collecting dreams with an NGO called ‘Chaitanya Mahila Mandal’. Siddhartha photographs people who people would not normally notice. From faces in the red light areas of Maharashtra, farmers in rural Uttar Pradesh to Singapore where his work takes him, Siddhartha and his camera are bringing dreams from all over the world. He is constantly on the lookout for more organisations to work with, especially to take their stories to the world, generate awareness and help them raise funds.
Meeting people from different walks of life is indeed interesting, ‘I once met a boy who was collecting garbage and asked him what his dream was, he wanted to be a doctor!’ says Siddhartha. These dreams can be heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. Talking of more such interesting encounters he tells me about an old woman in Goa who has left a lasting impression on his mind. “She was living in an old house and her entire life revolved around protecting it.” But not all experiences have been pleasant. Not everyone you would like to photograph and talk to will oblige. “Rejection can be discouraging and after every such encounter I am a little apprehensive to approach the next person,” he says.
Originally from Uttarakhand, Siddhartha was born in Bihar and now lives in Pune. He has traveled the length and breadth of the country and this has made a major impact on his work and thinking. Talking about the lessons travel has taught him he says,
“I think because of travel I accept people exactly the way they are. We are all so unique and different, and to me there is space for everyone in this world, all opinions, and all beliefs. Travel has also helped me also realize that the world is a very safe place, and people and deep inside their aspirations are remarkably similar, no matter where they come from”
Siddhartha is greatly inspired by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and says “I think the work he is doing is commendable and is someone I would love to associate myself with. I also think HelpAge India is doing an excellent job, they are also extremely supportive of my work and the project on Instagram,” Speaking of inspiration, his works are striking enough to create a lasting impression on our minds and a beautiful representation of how something as simple as a picture accompanied with a dream is what it takes to create an impact.
“Their dreams are so simple, yet so ambitious and they always make me smile, yet break my heart. Many of them have simple dreams and considering their current status, they still look impossible” says Siddhartha. He only hopes his pictures and this project bring these aspirations to the forefront and connect them with the right people. “I want to act as a facilitator between these dreams and the people who can fulfill them,” he concludes.
It all starts with a dream and we sincerely hope this project goes on to become bigger and better.