Fine Art Photography Daily

Ashima Yadava: The Front Yard

Front Yard

©Ashima Yadava, Hamida Banu and her husband Dr. Anil Chopra are both retired seniors with compromised immunity. Their daughter Nasreen Chopra makes frequent visits to their Orinda home helping them cope with the pandemic. April 12th, 2020 – Orinda, California.

When encountering the website of artist Ashima Yadava, instead of describing her work as portfolios, she uses the word “stories”- an apt description of her photographic practice. The work featured today is the result of that period of time in 2020 when we were rediscovering home and neighborhood while self-quarantining. Yavada went beyond just photographing family and neighbors, she made then collaborators in her art making. After each portrait session, she would give the prints to the participants and encourage them to embellish and activate the image in a new way. The result is filled with whimsy and personality, but also a wonderful example of the subject having a say in the final outcome.

Born and raised in New Delhi, India, Ashima Yadava believes in art as a means to social activism and reform. With the camera as her conduit, her work is rooted in documentary practice with a keen focus on issues of gender equality, race, and social justice.

Ashima works in digital and analog methods including medium, and 4×5 large format. Ashima Yadava is a Director’s Fellow from the International Center of Photography, New York.

Follow Ashima Yavada on Instagram: @indigonyx


©Ashima Yadava, Art inputs by Hamida Banu Chopra

The Front Yard

The front yard is as much a metaphor as it is a space. Homes reflect the material successes of their inhabitants, their aesthetic tastes, and concrete the ties that bind family, lovers, and friends. When the shelter-in-place order was announced in March and time came to a proverbial standstill, I turned to my community to make portraits of people in their front yards.

The slow pace of using both digital and analog large format cameras, simultaneously, gave me time to reflect on my role as a photographer. I decided to disrupt the usual one-sided gaze so problematic in documentary photography by opening up the process to collaboration. Making large format black and white prints, I invited these families to color or embellish them however they liked. While one set of images are my observations — revealing tension, guardedness, and at times a reflective silence. The other set inverts the process, where people draw their imagination onto the photographs and coloring how they want it to be seen. It is a more in-depth conversation of the perceived realities and how easy it is to break barriers of judgment by opening our worlds to each other. While humanity is fighting a global disease ⁠— with isolation and distrust, perhaps the antidote is in the collaborative sowing of seeds that represent, affirm, and bind us all.


©Ashima Yadava, Weeks into the pandemic, their parents Aishwarya and Mukund juggle their careers and parenthood, trying to keep their kids entertained outside their home in Union City, California. Art inputs by Krish Iyer and Mayura Iyer


©Ashima Yadava, Lorraine Chatterjee works for the Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto while her daughter pursues her college degree in New York.


©Ashima Yadava, Art inputs by Aria, Smita & Manoj, seen outside their Milpitas home.

Priya Satia is a professor of British History at Stanford University and lives on the campus. She developed Covid-19 like symptoms and has been on a road to recovery as she quarantines with her two kids and husband Aprajit Mahajan who is an Economics Professor at UC Berkeley. Art inputs by Priya, Kabir and Amann.

©Ashima Yadava, Art inputs by Amann, Kabir, Priya Satia & Aprajit Mahajan.


©Ashima Yadava, Yeshua Villa struggled to keep up with his zoom classes throughout the year in 2020, Redwood City California, May 25, 2020.


©Ashima Yadava, Sonya Pelia and her husband Mathew reside in Menlo Park, California. Following the shelter-in-place orders in March, their daughter Jasleen had to return home from college in Edinburgh, Scotland. April 11, 2020. Art inputs by Sonya Pelia & Jasleen Pelia-Lutzker


©Ashima Yadava, Art inputs by Nitya and Arvind Kansal seen here in their front yard in Cupertino, California.

Front Yard

©Ashima Yadava, Priya Satia is a professor of British History at Stanford University. She developed Covid-19 like symptoms in April, 2020 as she quarantined with her two kids and husband Aprajit Mahajan who is an Economics Professor at UC Berkeley.


©Ashima Yadava, Estella Villa with her husband and kids Yeshua and Mia outside their Redwood City home California, May 25, 2020. Art inputs by Mia Villa.


©Ashima Yadava, Art inputs by Molly Brennan, seen here with her husband Aezed Raza outside their Mission district home in San Francisco, April 2020.

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