Exposure: Vivek Vadoliya

Art director Gem Fletcher speaks to photographer Vivek Vadoliya, whose work examines new ways of looking at British Asian identity, for her latest Exposure column

Towards the end of Vivek Vadoliya’s film Kala Kala: The Guru of Soho, the short’s colourful protagonist proclaims “life is very simple and gets complicated when you’re not looking within yourself”. These words linger, not for their obvious mindful meme-ability, but for the ways in which they describe the root of Vadoliya’s aesthetic force.

In just a few years, the photographer and director has conjured a portfolio that is deeply personal, technically tight and wrapped in a visual language that is distinctively his own. The work is an invitation into his world, a constellation of fashion, documentary and portraiture that seeks to celebrate the nuances of the Indian diaspora, carefully imagined through his tender and loving gaze.

The construct of masculinity and its relation to Vadoliya’s south Asian identity, historically, culturally, and within the contemporary moment, is a central theme in the work. In Brotherhood, he explores notions of British Asian masculinity through a series of quiet and eclectic portraits that speak to style, body language and cultural codes and symbols.