Second-year undergraduate tribal student’s photograph makes it to Vogue Italia

Guguloth is a second-year-student of Telangana Tribal Welfare Fine Arts Academy, Siricilla, a resident college where young tribespeople are provided education, boarding and lodging free of cost

Nineteen-year-old Mamatha Guguloth (Photo: Twitter/ @TTWREISociety)
Nineteen-year-old Mamatha Guguloth (Photo: Twitter/ @TTWREISociety)
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PTI

Nineteen-year-old Mamatha Guguloth is so happy that she is unable to speak coherently when we call her. Not only did the picture she shot get chosen by Vogue Italia, but Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao tweeted it, bringing her instant fame.

"This is all so new to me," she said shyly.

Guguloth is a second-year-student of Telangana Tribal Welfare Fine Arts Academy, Siricilla, a resident college where young tribespeople are provided education, boarding and lodging free of cost.

Rama Rao posted a picture of a Lambadi tribeswoman wearing a bright fuchsia-coloured outfit and headdress, and tweeted, "This beautiful picture was picked up by Vogue Italia, popular fashion magazine. Guess who clicked it? Mamatha Guguloth, a young student of Photography (at) Telangana Tribal Welfare Fine Arts Academy, Sircilla." The minister, who is an MLA from Sircilla added, "My compliments to Mamatha and her teachers on this recognition." Speaking over the phone, Guguloth said, “I joined the photography course because I always wanted to do something creative. Before long, I fell in love with photography, especially fashion photography." Her teacher Raghu Thomas, a Mumbai-based professional photographer who moved to Sircilla two years ago when the photography course was started, helped translate Guguloth's replies over the phone from Telugu to English.

“She is one of the 13 students enrolled in the first batch of BA (honours) in photography and digital imaging. These girls are proof that when given the right exposure, a talented person can really shine,” Thomas said.

One of Guguloth’s classmates, Siddam Mounika, too had recently won accolades for her landscape photograph, said Thomas, adding, “She secured a gold medal in a national-level photography workshop held in Araku valley in Andhra Pradesh last December." “We take the students regularly to location shoots. The photo shot by Guguloth was taken in Banjapally village in Kamareddy district,” he explained.


Guguloth, who herself is from Banjapally, said she has been studying in the residential facility meant for tribal students since class one.

“I have two sisters, one younger and one older, and a younger brother. They are also enrolled in the residential school, but I am the only one in my family to pursue photography,” said Guguloth, adding that her father is a farmer and mother a housewife.

As for how the picture landed in Vogue Italia, Thomas said he used to contribute to Vogue when he was freelancing in Mumbai. “They regularly invite photographs from freelancers. When I realised the girls were getting serious about photography, I decided to send in the pictures that fit Vogue's requirements. Of the lot, Mamatha's was chosen." The academy provides the equipment as well. “It’s quite amazing how far these girls have come, considering they had absolutely no exposure to photography or a camera or anything. They learnt everything from scratch and now they are even confident about which genre they want to pursue,” said Thomas.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to anyone in my family, so we are all over the moon,” Guguloth said. 

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