Widely recognized amid everyday life in India, Hindu deities come to life in the work of photographer Manjari Sharma.
Traveling to Mumbai in February 2011, Sharma took three weeks and an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 to produce her first photograph in the “Darshan” series, according to a New York Times Lens Blog feature, titled “The Beauty and Chaos of the Gods.”
For Sharma, it’s a project that could take several lifetimes, given the multitude of Hindu deities to choose from.
“There are billions of gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology,” she told the Times. “I could be doing this till the day I die and not have done enough.”
The sensitive nature of working with religious figures, also, isn’t lost on Sharma.
“If these gods weren’t given the respect that they should be given or I had my own take, which was perceived as slander, it would be shut down,” she said. “I’m treading on really touchy waters. Fortunately, everyone is in sync with the understanding that I’m treating it with as much respect as I could, since I come from it.”
A Kickstarter campaign helped the Brooklyn-based photographer raise an additional $26,000 for the project.
Sharma was recently named among the winners of CENTER’s 19th Annual International Awards and will have her work exhibited in Santa Fe, N.M.