For Who You Really Are.
Hi, I’m Alpana, and I’ve loved photography for as long as I can remember.
It began with black-and-white pictures and an Olympus OM-1 film camera, a gift from my father at age 16. I’d seen an exhibit of street photography and become obsessed with the magic of creating candid images to tell a story. I found myself walking the streets of Mumbai, connecting with strangers and finding unexpected stories. It was the beginning of my ability to make deep personal connections and put subjects at ease while capturing their essence on film.
NOUN: A style of Indian folk art known for its spontaneous expression of the artistic sensibility of women, all at once traditional and contemporary in feeling.
How I Lost,
Then Found My True Calling
When I left India to come to the U.S. for graduate school, I had just two suitcases and a thousand dollars in my pocket. I had worked for top ad agencies in India, but I had a dream to see the world beyond mine. I didn’t have many resources, but I knew that with a little hustle, I would somehow figure it out.
I had also dreamed of being a professional photographer. But the industry in India was dominated by men, and it felt impossible to break in. So instead, I built a successful career in corporate America as a graphic and web designer for dot-comes and ad agencies, suppressing the deep passion I once felt for photography.
That is, until I laid eyes on my tiny, five-pound-ten-ounce son in 2003, and he changed everything.
I used the only camera I had — a video camera that took terrible, low-resolution stills — to capture images of his tiny body, and a flame inside me was reignited. My son became my muse, and I bought a digital camera that brought me back full-circle to my obsession with photography and storytelling.
Like my father, who left a comfortable job to start his own business as a management consultant, I struck out on my own with the conviction that I had something special to offer the world: a gift for telling its stories.
And I realized that every experience I’d had along my unconventional artistic path — from the streets of Mumbai to the dot-coms of San Francisco — had combined to make me into a unique storyteller with a unique mission.
Women often don’t get seen.
As a result, many women don’t think they’re photogenic, or they think it’s just not possible for them to be seen by others the way they envision themselves in their mind.
My goal is to empower women personally and professionally with images that let them know they are profoundly seen. I want them to look at photos of themselves and be transformed by seeing their true story represented — and to believe that they, too, can make a difference.
Whoever you are, from whatever walk of life, you deserve that chance to be seen. I believe I was put on this earth to capture the unique spirit that shines inside you. With me as storyteller, you can finally let down your guard and trust me to unearth the most fully expressed version of you.
Let me #captureyourspirit and show you the real you.
More About Me.
I’m 100 percent city girl. I have lived in Bombay (now Mumbai), Chicago, San Francisco and almost New York — where I might have fallen in love with thin crust pizza.
Gavin Newsom and Michelle Obama are two of my celebrity crushes. I would LOVE to photograph either of them!
As a teenager, I captured an image of a whiteout in the Himalayas, the rooftop of the world, that started my journey in photography.
I became obsessed with investing in the stock market when I was working at a dot-com in San Francisco. One of my best investments was the Apple stock I purchased for my partner’s IRA. I love getting stock tips from my Motley Fool subscription!
I once borrowed studio lights from a wedding photographer to photograph an Indian supermodel. I had zero experience at the time, but the image landed on the cover of a magazine.
I have created yearly print albums of my muse and son — who, now 15, would rather do math and chemistry homework than being photographed by me. Check them out on my Pinterest page!
Alpana Aras-King is a masterful storyteller, art director, and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2006, she left a successful corporate job to open Storyboxart, a private portrait studio.
A creative visionary, Alpana’s work has included heirloom photography for families, marketing and promotional imagery for non-profits, and personal projects on the streets of three continents. Her work has been commissioned by the New York Times, Financial Times, Ozy Magazine and displayed internationally with companies such as Apple Inc.
Alpana has won numerous awards and recognition for her work, including the Photoplace Gallery, Center for Fine Arts, International Center of Photography, Lifeframer and Feature Shoot, among many others.
As an immigrant and person of color, Alpana is passionate about turning her lens on issues of diversity through her personal and professional photography. Her work with the Everyday Bay Area collective, has drawn attention to the untold stories of people on the margins, humanizing those that look different to create acceptance and social change.