Photos & Text: Sooni Taraporevala
A lot of these photos have been shot in Mumbai, and many have been shot in villages and towns of Gujarat such as Udvada and Navsari, both Parsi strongholds. I had been photographing my family and the Parsi community since 1977, when a fortuitous meeting in 1982 with the famed photographer Raghubir Singh led me to making this my life’s work.
Raghubir was the one who encouraged me to publish a book which eventually happened in 2000 — the second edition was published in 2004. Very sadly Raghubir never saw it — he passed away in 1999. My aim was to document the community visually —something that had never been done before. And yes, at the back of my mind was the fear of extinction — if we disappear, it will not be without a trace. So for the past 39 years I’ve photographed the daily life and sacred rituals, inside homes and fire temples, on the streets of the city and villages, ordinary folk and legends. And of course my own family — particularly the older generation who have since passed on. Their images still give me some measure of perhaps childish comfort — the photos make me feel like my famlily is still with me, by my side.
The photographs are part of an exhibition, called My Family and Other Parsis. All images © Sooni Taraporevala