4 min read

If you aren’t common with Simrah Farrukh’s pictures, you have undoubtedly come across her series featuring South Asian noses on Instagram.

Her operate is immediately distinguishable thanks to its goldish-brown hue, muted shades, grainy composition, and “dream-like” aesthetic. From an intentional work to spotlight dark-skinned South Asian females as products to showcasing South Asian LGBTQ really like, Simrah’s get the job done difficulties the status quo in refreshingly candid ways. Her images centers South Asian-People in america in artwork and manner whilst prompting discussions about the way South Asians define splendor. 

Simrah and I achieved more than Zoom to focus on her booming vocation as a photographer and visual activist. At only 23-many years-previous, Simrah is manufacturing critically acclaimed artwork that facilities on South Asian and Muslim narratives while hard western perceptions and lenses.

Simrah reported she is an American-Pakistani photographer exploring “dreams, realities, and utopias primarily of brown gals.” Her get the job done focuses on the intersection of trend, women’s empowerment, and tackling issues like colorism and eurocentrism. 

Her most acknowledged image collection celebrates the diversity of South Asian ladies noses. The shots are side profiles of South Asian gals with curved or wide noses. Each picture juxtaposed together highlights their dissimilarities.

The job was Simrah’s reaction to the prominence of #NoseJobCheck on TikTok, where by people showcase their nose task “before” and “after.” 

“Getting a nose job is not bad, but I know a ton of brown ladies have insecurities about their noses. I want to show that their noses are not anything to conceal or change,” Simrah claimed.

This undertaking was influenced by her possess insecurities expanding up and was an act of resistance to society’s prolonged-standing obsession with little, button noses as the common typical of beauty. The sequence sparked Online discussions about distinctive natural beauty expectations for men and ladies: even nevertheless non-eurocentric noses are generally disliked in South Asian communities, they are still witnessed as much better on the lookout on men.

Processed with MOLDIV

Making use of Shahrukh Khan as an example, Simrah stated that even nevertheless he has a vast, curved nose, he is continue to regarded as handsome. “Why is it that when the very same nose is on a lady, it is witnessed as much too masculine for their confront?” Simrah questioned. 

“The Underrepresented,” one more series by Simrah, tackles colorism by that includes South Asian women with dim skin in embroidered and jeweled desi apparel in an outdoor, backyard-like setting. The idea may appear straightforward, but when examined in its societal context it is groundbreaking.

For several South Asian women rising up, society and common society wrongly instruct us that fairness equates to natural beauty. By showcasing the beauty of darkish-skinned South Asian gals in poses like types in a trend catalog, Simrah would make a assertion about the absence of representation in the fashion, media, and magnificence industries.

She committed the venture to “all the South Asian women of all ages out there who are…underrepresented…because the shade of their pores and skin doesn’t healthy South Asia’s unreasonable, reasonable and attractive, Eurocentric attractiveness expectations.” 

[Read Related: Your Natural Skin is Beautiful: Conquering Colorism in the South Asian Community]

To Simrah, combatting troubles visually just “hits distinct.”

“I chose images simply because when you see a thing as a visible, it is distinct from studying about it. You can see the person’s encounter and quickly really feel a personal link to them,” Simrah discussed. “Our brain procedures photos 60,000 occasions faster than it does textual content. We see photos just about every single day. Putting troubles by visuals is part of switching people’s minds. Artwork is so potent and hits you in the coronary heart.”

Simrah was initial attracted to images when she discovered her father’s movie digital camera in high university and took shots. Although she under no circumstances formulated these pictures, she did establish a enthusiasm for images. At first, this enthusiasm was innocent and aimless – geared in direction of capturing the perfect Facebook profile photograph, for instance.

On the other hand, it formulated into something better when she visited Pakistan. There, she arrived throughout her grandmothers’ albums of spouse and children photos. The relatives photographs served her know the ability pictures can keep.

“This,” she reminisced, “was a turning place with how I viewed photography — as an art variety.”

[Read Related: Nursing the Colonial Hangover Afflicted on my Brown Body]

Simrah has a bachelor’s diploma in Studio Arts with a concentration in photography. Even so, she stated heading to faculty is not required to make a vocation out of images.

“Instead, I imagine people should make faults and master by themselves—especially with all the assets on the internet,” she reported.

Devoid of any official mentorship, Simrah had to pave her very own route to build herself as a professional photographer. Thankfully, Simrah’s mother and father supported her in this endeavor, immersing her in Pakistani tradition and artwork from a young age. 


Simrah on the other hand recognizes she is blessed to have her parents’ help.

“A major purpose South Asians walk away from the arts is for the reason that of the pressure from our mom and dad,” she said. Because our mom and dad haven’t found any individual like us in the arts at all, they experience like we can’t make it. If they noticed profitable brown folks in these fields, they would feel ’my kid could do this far too.’”

Simrah would like to be this man or woman.

“At the finish of the day, I just hope my operate serves as an archive for potential generations of South Asians,” Simrah mentioned, her eyes sparkling. “It would be so potent for a brown ten-12 months-old to stroll into a keep and see someone who appears to be like them on a poster.” 

Duriba Khan

Duriba is a 50 % Indian, 50 % Pakistani American author double majoring in Promoting and Political Conversation at The College of Texas at Austin. She also serves as the VP Volunteer Advancement at MannMukti.org, a internet site and corporation devoted to destigmatizing mental wellbeing in the South Asian community. When Duriba is not generating Parks and Recreation references to her grandma who would not discuss english, crafting at her web site (duribakhan.com), accomplishing improv, or consuming all the espresso flavored things, you can discover her impersonating Johnny Lever in her bed room mirror.