She was a woman who lived by her own rules and lived a life others could only have dreamt of in that era. Her interest in photography was first kindled when she met her husband. He was an accountant in The Times of India but his passion was photography.
Homai used his Rolleiflex and started photography. Soon she started using Speedgraphic. These were the two cameras used by photographers all over the world. Homai’s clicks are way cooler than the ones we click from our DSLRs.
Homai was known for her passion and enthusiasm for her work. Moving around Delhi in a saree on her bicycle with a sling bag and her camera, she captured some of the most iconic photographs of Indian history. Her lens has captured almost all the legends of Indian history: Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Jinnah, Dalai Lama and many others. She couldn’t have imagined that her years of hard work would someday become the chronicles of Indian history!
Here’s a look at some of her finest work:
Jawaharlal Nehru was Homai Vyarawalla’s favorite subject. She considered him to be the most photogenic personality. Her collection has numerous photographs of Nehru.
Homai once said that this was her favorite click.
Other photographers used to leave at the end of the ceremonies, but Homai would stay to capture such rare moments.
When a foreign journalist looking at the line of photographers clicking Indira Gandhi asked, “You don’t have women photographers here?” the PM smiled, “We do. We have Homai Vyarawalla.”
Homai used to live alone after her son died of cancer. In an interview she once said:
I have one or two friends in this neighbourhood and I know a few persons in the Parsi community here. My life is very isolated, but I like it this way. I am quite used to doing my work myself and I am not dependent on any one and do not want to be a burden on anybody. Jeena hai to shaan se jiyo is my mantra. I have no family left, except my cousin’s son in Mumbai. We meet sometimes, whenever I go to Mumbai for some work.