Two drag queens prepare themselves before going onstage in a club in Delhi. Young Muslim women take English lessons from a librarian in Mumbai. Bakers prepare desserts ahead of Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Afghanistan. Two rivers confluence into the river Indus in India and flow into Pakistan.
These are some of the everyday stories that a few Instagram pages all over the world are trying to tell in an effort to counter popular perceptions. From Africa to Asia, Oceania to Latin America, these pages are documenting the daily lives and livelihoods of people unknown to people outside of their neighbourhood.
The topics of photographs on any of the pages range from the environment to homosexuality to grief and joy. And such a blend is done consciously. Chirag Wakaskar, the creator of Everyday Mumbai, told The Floating Magazine,
“Everyday Mumbai has a unique blend of images that showcase the city as it is. The photographs from various parts of the city have been shared on the project, and I think those curious enough would like to visit those places to find out more about them.”
Collectively called ‘The Everyday Projects’, the pages aim to throw light on multiple cultures that thrive in any place. The brainchild of 20-year-old Anas Saleem, Everyday Pakistan strives to counter the dominant narrative of his country. He told The Indian Express,
“We in South Asia have this problem. Western photo agencies and news outlets come with their own photographers and they present a biased view of my country, and of South Asia. Right now they are obsessed with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (the former North West Frontier Province), and the immigrants who have come into Pakistan from Afghanistan. There are so many other things happening simultaneously in my country.”
The mission of ‘The Everyday Projects’ states that it “uses photography to challenge stereotypes that distort our understanding of the world”. And the same view is shared by curators of all pages.
Chirag Wakaskar of Everyday Mumbai told DNA,
“In our country, there are a million stories waiting to be told. Yet, the ones that find their way out are stereotypes about India being a poor country and its inhabitants are coloured as not just being poor but also uneducated and under-privileged.”
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The Everyday Projects first began in 2012 with Everyday Africa trying to challenge stereotypes of poverty and disease that plagued the continent. After its success, likeminded storytellers convened in 2014 and created their own pages to ‘combat cliché, promote local norms, and celebrate global commonalities’. As of today, the number of such pages stands at 48 with the number of followers ranging anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand.