Rashmi Mathur is an Amateur Photographer and creator of the Facebook page "People of Trinidad and Tobago". Possibly the fastest growing social media interaction boasting totally local content to date. We couldn't help but reach out to her and ask her a few questions. 20 to be exact.
1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
Creativity for me in this page (People of Trinidad and Tobago) has come through inadvertently. I wanted to see whether I could take decent pictures and was trying to find a project that would be both meaningful and beautiful. I came across "Humans of New York" the Facebook page and it just struck the right chord for me. I wrote to Brandon Stanton and asked for permission to do it in Trinidad.
2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
I've developed my photography skill over time - practise, practise practise. I read a lot so its helped me to write the stories after a conversation.
3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
I started this page in early May. I was having coffee with my niece Anika and we were talking about me finding a project. I told her about HONY and wanted to find a way of doing it in Trinidad - with the clarity and simplicity she just said "why dont you do it?" It was the right moment to hear the words. I came home and started thinking about how to put it together.
4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?
This is so new for me. My evaluation has come from the way people have recieved my photographs and interpretation of the conversation with the person being interviewed.
5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
Yes. I came from India when I was 9 years old but I learnt about tolerance, acceptance, races and religions here in Trinidad. I am an Optometrist by profession so in my work I meet at least 15 new people a day. I love faces, voices, expressions, ways of saying things about matters small and large. Iv seen that all that we all think is unique about us are actually Universal stories to peopel all over the world. What we do with our lot in life is what separates us.
6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?
Not applicable, yet :)
7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
Ditto question 6 :)
8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
Ditto questions 6 and 7 :)
9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
Yes for sure. I'm a little braver in my setting up of shots. Sometimes they work - sometimes I think "what am I doing???".
10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
I've had to restructure my time. Sometimes family time, often sleep time. I work full time so it's a lot of juggling and planning.
11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
My family are my biggest cheering team.
12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
Being accepted has given me a reason to continue.
13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Refer to questions 6,7 and 8 :)
14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
Ditto question 13 :)
15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
All the time. Until May 2014 I didnt know if I was a decent photographer or interpreter of stories.
16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
My Facebook page.
17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?
Umm...I'm too amateur to mentor, but I love that my niece and daughter are interested in photography maybe in small part because of what I do.
18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
If you're interested in photography, take hundreds of shots. For every 25 that you take, there will be one or two good ones. Just keep practising. Light is your best friend. It makes a shot.
19. What would you most like to be remembered for?
Gosh...too early to say.
20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
Shades of light
See more of Rashmi's work on her Facebook page.