Alumna's Photography Project Gets Nod from New York Times

"Maa Laxmi" by Manjari Sharma

Alumna (CCAD 2004) Manjari Sharma's project Darshan is in full swing and getting attention from The New York Times.

The Times' blog post provided an update to the project, which Sharma started nearly a year ago.

After creating an image of the Hindu goddess Maa Laxmi, the Media Studies alumna began a Kickstarter site in June 2011 to raise funds to continue her project. Sharma raised nearly $26,000 to create the gods Ganesha, Shiva, Durga, and Hanuman.

"Darshan is a Sanskrit word that means 'sight,' 'view' or 'vision,'" Sharma wrote on the Kickstarter site. “My project, Darshan, aims to photographically recreate nine classical images of gods and goddesses pivotal to mythological stories in Hinduism.”

Creating each photograph requires the help of nearly three dozen people. This includes creating the set, costumes, jewelry, props, makeup, and more. The first image alone took more than three weeks to put together and cost nearly $5,000.

"There are billions of gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology," said Sharma in The New York Times blog. "I could be doing this till the day I die and not have done enough."

According to the post, Sharma hopes to show the series in a museum exhibition, designed like a temple. She would display the photographs along with parts of the sets and costumes that helped create the deities.

"In some ways, art on the walls in a museum is treated, honored, and placed on a pedestal no different than a deity is in a temple," she said.

Sharma's other photographic projects, including her Shower Series,  led her to be named the Best of 2010 by the American Society of Media Photographers.

To read the full article, click here.