An authentic representation of Desi people in modern Britain
A little while ago Dove launched a new stock photography collection that aimed to diversify the way women are represented in the media. Soon after, Adobe Stock followed up with a campaign to redress the balance of coverage of women in sport.
Both initiatives, while incredibly positive, made us realise the scale of underrepresentation of South Asians – affectionately known as Desi people – across stock photography sources online. What’s more, the Desi images that do exist are heavily stereotyped and tend to represent an entirely outdated view of this community.
Today, the Desi Diaspora – or, to coin a phrase, the ‘Despora’– represents five percent of the UK population (the largest percentage of the total BAME population in the UK). And, with over three million Desi people across the country, there is diversity within diversity.
That’s why we have launched ‘Despora’ – a collection of free-to-download images of Desi people, which represents this community as it is: modern, diverse and breaking down barriers and boundaries.
Introducing the people
We carefully selected our models. The image collection features incredible activists, creatives and Desi people shaping what it means to be part of the Despora.
We decided to take a no-photoshop approach to our imagery, representing real people in all their unmistakable beauty.
You can read about the models’ backgrounds and ways to connect with them below.
her/she // @sermangkok
Representing the tiny island of Singapore, Mellisa is here to make her mark in this world.
A full-time creative wizard and part-time animal whisperer, football is her second favourite F word.
her/she // @nyla.m
Nyla is a Half English, Half Indian lesbian who works as a Billing Manager for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region in a fast growing start-up that provides office space for entrepreneurs and businesses around the world.
her/she // @imafauxpas
Riah (left) is a 21 year old creative from London of Bangladeshi heritage, currently studying Fashion Branding and Marketing at university.
they/them // @sabah.c
Sabah Choudrey is a hairy brown trans Muslim, one of the co-founders of Trans Pride Brighton in 2013, and proud trans youth worker since 2014.
her/she // @pixel_princess
Poonum is a female, bisexual/pansexual, British Indian. Born and raised in London, she is Creative Director of her own design studio Moon Creative.
her/she // @manju44
Manju Patel-Nair is British Keralan EdActivist, Community Builder & Founder of ChangeMakers UnLtd.
Rakhi Patel-Nair (right) is a British Gujarati Scientist, specialised in tissue diagnostics and a Shiatsu practitioner.
Rajan Nair is Manju’s father, lover of newspapers and looks great in orange.
her/she // @m_i_stry
Janaki Mistry (left) is a Fine Artist student at Goldsmiths University, her work draws inspiration from general life, and the moments where she see her culture intertwined with the West.
her/she // @shanidhanda
Shani is a business and culture change agent, social entrepreneur and disability rights advocate - passionate about representation and creating equality as founder of the Diversability Card, Asian Woman Festival, and Asian Disability Network.
he/him // @chigstagram29
Chiraag Jiwan is a bilingual self-starter, and he is devoted to enriching the digital sphere with his travel and personal background.
her/she // @laqtose.intolerant
Laiqa Miriam is a creative and Intersectional Feminist Activist. She has also founded Highlighter, an online platform dedicated to empowering and educating emerging intersectional creatives.