Over the last few years there’s been a rise of female photographers getting behind the camera lens, giving a much-needed female gaze to the male-dominated world of photography. “No single guy could capture a woman like a woman”, says 22-year-old UAE-based photographer Tamila Kochkarova, whose new book—entitled Girls—is an homage to women.
Despite having a fascination for faces since she was a child, Kochkarova’s only started taking photography seriously when she was offered a camera a year ago. Instantaneously, her dreamy portraiture has focused on both capturing women who inspire her and celebrating modern womanhood. “The region has evolved so much in regards to women, it blows my mind. I want to participate in this movement”, she says discussing the inspiration behind her work. In fact, the actual idea of creating Girls came to her after she visited her home country two years ago, where she discovered a book her late grandfather had written and realised it was the only thing that was left from him. “I wanted to leave a timeless trace with this project”, she adds.
Through her wide and eclectic cast of fierce young women, the photographer’s intimate pictures dissect girlhood in Dubai in an unprecedented way, by uncovering how multicultural and diverse the reality of it is. It was important for Kochkarova to shoot all of them in her home, so she could make sure that, by feeling comfortable, the girls released their profound strength. “All of these girls are so strong in their own way”, she says before adding, “all are respectively introduced with a quote they chose, which I believe is quite ground-breaking. We rarely give girls a chance to express themselves like that”.