‘I learned that there is always hope’


HOW ACE PHOTOGRAPHER TURNED FILMMAKER REHMAT RAYATT IS USING HER CAMERA TO CAPTURE HUMAN STORIES by ASJAD NAZIR Ace British photographer Rehmat Rayatt has shown through her impressive body of work that she has an eye for the unusual and an ability to capture something unique. She has used that visionary ability in powerful new movie Toxification, which premiered at the recent UK Asian Film Festival. The documentary tells the true-life story of the devastating impact of fertilisers and pesticides. More than 16,000 of farm workers have allegedly committed suicides in a 15-year period; many farm workers also suffer from physical and mental illnesses. The eye-opening documentary signals the arrival of a new filmmaking talent. Eastern Eye caught up with Rehmat to talk about life in photography, her future plans, Toxification and the challenges of making it. What first got you connected to photography? My grandfather, Bhai Gurmit Singh Virdee, was a photographer. I grew up surrounded by excited conversations about shutter speed and aperture, and still remember the moment I picked up my father’s DSLR and began shooting with it, around 11 years old. The camera had been recommended by my grandfather who had the same model; a Nikon D70. My first time shooting on film was when I was 14 and needed to take an inexpensive camera with me on my first solo trip to India. From that moment, I was hooked and went on to study photography at A-levels and for my degree. How did you feel having your first photography exhibition? My first photography exhibition of all my work, in Newcastle in 2016, was extremely humbling. To have my photographs take up three floors of an entire gallery was surreal. Another huge moment was being asked to exhibit my series of work, Don’t Fence Me In,…

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