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Two Desi people jogging - an image from the Despora collection.


Photo Collection

An authentic representation of Desi people in modern Britain

Introducing Despora

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 What’s more, the Desi images that do exist are heavily stereotyped and tend to represent an entirely outdated view of this community.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.

Two South Asian people leaning against a wall of a train station
A South Asian person smiling while looking at a laptop
Two South Asian people in a kitchen

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.

Mellisa Abdullah

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.

Mellisa Abdullah for Despora

Nyla Mirza

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.

Nyla Mirza for Despora

Riah Uddin

her/she // @imafauxpas


Riah (left) is a 21 year old creative from London of Bangladeshi heritage, currently studying Fashion Branding and Marketing at university.

Sabah Choudrey for Despora

Sabah Choudrey

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. 

Poonum Chauhan for Despora

Poonum Chauhan

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. 

Riah Uddin for Despora

Manju Patel-Nair

her/she // @manju44

Manju Patel-Nair is British Keralan EdActivist, Community Builder & Founder of ChangeMakers UnLtd.

Manju Patel-Nair for Despora

Rakhi Patel-Nair



Rakhi Patel-Nair (right) is a British Gujarati Scientist, specialised in tissue diagnostics and a Shiatsu practitioner.

Rakhi Patel-Nair for Despora

Rajan Nair



Rajan Nair is Manju’s father, lover of newspapers and looks great in orange.

Janaji Mistry for Despora

Janaki Mistry

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.

Shani Dhanda for Despora

Shani Dhanda

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.

Rajan Nair for Despora

Chiraag Jiwan

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.

Chiraag Jiwan for Despora

Laiqa Miriam

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.

Laiqa Miriam for Despora

Visit our blog to read more about some of our Despora models

Use the form below to download the full photo collection.

Please check out how to credit our free images under Creative Commons License here.

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