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The dream catcher: This photographer has archived the dreams of people across India

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Jan 07, 2016 19:43 IST
Poorva Joshi
#TellMeYouDream2015

“My elder son died and now his children are my responsibility. I dream of giving them both good education and help them become something in life.” — Radhabai, Pune

Hailing from Sawai Jaisinghpura, a village near Jaipur, Hazarilal belongs to a family of ironsmiths. What sets him apart, though, is his willingness to experiment. A few months back, he created an iron casing for light bulbs to keep the flies (hovering around them) at bay. Now, he lectures at design schools on techniques to develop the craft. And, in his free time, he plans to personalise designs for his clients. “I dream of making new and innovative products. I want to know what they [my clients] desire,” he says.

Hazarilal’s dreams are now in the public domain thanks to Siddhartha Joshi, a photographer who documents people’s aspirations. Joshi launched #TellMeYourDream2015 — a 365-day photo project — on January 1 last year to archive the dreams of complete strangers. The past year has seen Joshi travel across the country, from West Bengal to Gujarat, and click over 2,000 photos. His photos and heart-warming stories gained him over 24,000 followers on Instagram.

“I dream of making new and innovative products. I want to know what they [my clients] desire,” - Hazarilal, Pune (Photo: Siddhartha Joshi )

“It was a personal project to discover the world around me. I started interviewing people about their fears and dreams. I focussed on dreams as they were an inspiration for me,” says Joshi.

An industrial designer by profession, photography and travel are an abiding passion for Joshi. He was barely 10 years old when he started clicking photos on his father’s Canon SLR. Over a period of time, Joshi realised that he loved the stories behind the photos. “Every story is new, and I enjoy that. That’s also why I like to travel... It opens our minds to the world,” says the 34-year-old.

So, how does Joshi get strangers to open up to him? He insists that it’s easier than it sounds. “I approach people with a smile and tell them about myself before I pose questions. It’s important that they trust me,” he explains. This strategy has worked in Joshi’s favour, as his documentation includes women from rural areas, who shy away from male strangers. “As long as I am respectful, they open up,” he says.

“My dream is to get maximum number of children from Budhwar Peth (Pune’s red light area) into the mainstream society and to help the women there overcome the trauma and come out of it.” — Jyoti Pathania, Pune (Photo: Siddhartha Joshi )

As we enter into the new year, Joshi wants to continue telling the stories he comes across, and is yet to plan a #TellMeYourDream2016. He wants his followers to connect with his subjects, irrespective of their social backgrounds. “These stories, similar to those by Humans of New York, bring a smile on people’s faces and renew their faith in humanity. It’s inspiring,” he says.

Follow the #TellMeYourDream2015 archive on sid-thewanderer.com